General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has successfully integrated and flown the Agile Condor Pod on an MQ-9 unmanned aerial system (UAS). Developed by SRC Inc. for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Agile Condor is a high-performance embedded computing system designed to deliver enhanced ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capabilities for US Air Force unmanned aircraft.
The Agile Condor Pod utilises on-board high-speed edge computer processing and machine learning algorithms to detect, correlate, identify, and track targets of interest. It interfaces with the MQ-9’s on-board Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor and Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to provide autonomous object identification.
In addition to enabling autonomous target detection, identification and nomination at extended ranges, the Agile Condor’s on-board high-powered edge computing processing reduces the communication bandwidth requirements for sharing target information with other platforms. This is an important step towards greater automation, autonomous target detection, and rapid decision-making. GA-ASI will continue to work with AFRL to refine the capability and further develop the transition to operational constructs that will improve warfighters’ ability to operate in contested or denied environments.
David R. Alexander, president of GA-ASI, commented: “Computing at the edge has tremendous implications for future unmanned systems. GA-ASI is committed to expanding artificial intelligence capabilities on unmanned systems and the Agile Condor capability is proof positive that we can accurately and effectively shorten the observe, orient, decide and act cycle to achieve information superiority. GA-ASI is excited to continue working with AFRL to advance artificial intelligence technologies that will lead to increased autonomous mission capabilities.”