Hydronalix has entered into an agreement with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) to support the Artificial Intelligence for Small Unit Maneuver (AISUM) Prize Challenge, which aims to develop software for proprietary robotic autonomy solutions. NSWC Crane’s challenge is anticipated to fulfill the need for a developmental platform prototype for demonstrating AI algorithms in support of small unit maneuvers and counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) autonomy research.
Hydronalix’ ADAPT UAS will be modified to provide a base stable flying platform for competitors to demonstrate the algorithm development objectives of navigation, mapping, and object recognition in enclosed spaces without the use of GPS. The drone will be equipped with a sense and compute payload that can be used for open source algorithm development and testing.
The ADAPT drone has previously seen service with USMC 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company Littoral Explosive Ordnance Neutralization (LEON) during the EUCOM USN 6th Fleet Baltic Operations Exercise in June 2021, and was used for vessel to shore re-supply missions. The UAS was developed by Hydronalix under a SBIR Phase I and II program funded by ONR and managed by NAVSEA.
NSWC Crane will be responsible for providing design requirements and any key performance parameters, and will also oversee flight safety and operation of the aircraft prior to algorithm contestant takeover. Hydronalix will be responsible for integration of the sense and compute payload onto no less than 12 units, integration of safety measures for override during flight, and providing training or training materials for the safe operation of the aircraft. Together, NSWC Crane and Hydronalix will be responsible for collaboration on new techniques and procedures, and will jointly present, publish and seek associated intellectual property.
Anthony Mulligan, CEO of Hydronalix, commented: “We are pleased to enter into this CRADA with NSWC Crane, as it will aid us in keeping our disposable UAS drone technology at the leading edge to assist in keeping the warfighter out of harm’s way. We look forward to working closely with scientists at NSWC Crane and leading UAS research teams from around the country.”
Blake Busey, the NSWC Crane hardware lead on the project, said: “Hydronalix has demonstrated successful quality control performance in their adaptive manufacturing process, competitive product pricing, and the ability to source quality and open architecture sUAS components from other US manufacturers. NSWC Crane is excited to collaborate with Hydronalix, utilizing their manufacturing and integration expertise, in support of a AISUM Prize Challenge common demonstrator platform.”