News Article

Automated Wingman
Date: Jan 01, 2012
Source: ARMY SBIR Success Story ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Soar Technology Inc of Ann Arbor, MI

Modeling and Simulation (M&S) play a major role in the development of new technologies for military and civilian applications. The Army uses M&S to improve effectiveness and efficiency in developing tactics, techniques, and procedures, while also reducing the manpower required and training expenses. Synthetic intelligent behavior models that simulate the behavior of Army wingmen can increase flexibility in training fixed-wing (FWA) and rotary-wing (RWA) aircraft pilots in team training, force integration, radio protocol, and coordinated tactics training. A major shortcoming in the virtual environment is the lack of simulators to populate M&S U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, environments.

This problem can be alleviated by computer-Development and Engineering Center generated entities, but these entities often lack adequately human-like behavior, making the environment less realistic which leads to ineffective training and evaluations. This SBIR project addresses this problem by presenting a computer-generated entity called the Automated Wingman (AutoWingman). AutoWingman is an entity control system that uses artificial intelligence and knowledge to implement a behavior system that provides a simulated wingman for a human pilot in a virtual cockpit. AutoWingman encodes the behavior of human pilots into a computational form that generates doctrinally correct behavior.

Soar Technology developed the core rotary-wing pilot behavior model and integrated it into existing simulation environments such as Mak Technologies' VR-Forces and the Joint Semi-Automated Forces. AutoWingman is able to fly air assault, direct attack, search-and-rescue, and CAS missions and can fly any role in a mission, including the lead. AutoWingman accomplishes its missions by integrating a wide variety of intelligent capabilities, including real-time hierarchical execution of complex goals and plans, communication and coordination with humans and simulated entities, and the ability to accept and respond to verbal orders while in flight.

Technology Transition:
To date, SoarTech has received $3.3M in Phase III contracts from the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). The technology components developed in this effort has been applied in a variety of systems and domains including joint tactical air controller (JTAC) training, pilot training, airspace management, air traffic control training, course-of-action planning, and most recently multi-modal robotic control. Besides military applications, this technology can be used in civilian aviation training and testing.