Issue 55 Uncrewed Systems Technology Apr/May 2024 Sellafield’s UAV equipment l Applied EV Blanc Robot l Battery tech l Robotican’s Goshawk l UGVs l UAVHE RW1 rotary l Roboat UVD l Autopilots l Arkeocean UVD l UMEX 2024 l CycloTech UVD

54 imagery, their flight and health statuses, and the estimated locations of all targets,” Geva says. “There are several flight-management parameters that the end-user can specify, as needed. You can, for instance, delineate no-fly areas, or even draw preferred routes or corridors that you want some of your UAVs to keep to when they have to cross through certain areas. For example, if you’re in a city and there are some populated areas, you don’t want a Goshawk to fly directly over; otherwise it will generally opt for taking the most direct, straight-line route to catch the target as fast as possible.” The IMS allows remote monitoring and diagnosis of all the Smart Nests, as well as the user’s own detection hardware, and it keeps track of Goshawk part inventories for maintenance purposes. Fleet management measures, such as ad hoc selections and prioritisations of targets to engage, can also be performed, if multiple hostiles present themselves simultaneously. In such an event, the management software will automatically select the best Interceptors for the jobs, such as the closest ones that present no potential health issues, possess sufficient battery energy for the range requirement and have the least blockages in terms of no-fly geofences. “Once the drones for the engagement are selected by the user or by the IMS itself, that’s where the IMS’s involvement ends – it’s a monitoring system, not a control system,” Geva notes. “This solution is meant to be autonomous. The software arranges for a last-known target position to be transmitted to the Goshawks, via the Nests’ antennas if necessary, and it’s the Goshawk that plans and recalculates its own routes, and adjusts its own gimballed HD camera to try and find the target visually. “The monitoring technician can change the target mid-mission or cancel the engagement – for instance, if they’ve realised the target isn’t a hostile drone, or a drone at all. Radar sends false targets sometimes. They can then select other targets, maybe perform an inspection mission while they’re in the area of some important infrastructure or tell the UAV to return to its Nest.” Robotican has also developed a digital simulation solution called Sphera, which is used to recreate and trial all of the company’s uncrewed vehicles within a virtual environment. “In Sphera, we can simulate full scenarios within a 3D, photorealistic environment featuring high-fidelity dynamics, and naturally that includes twinning geographic locations with multiple Nests installed and multiple threats inbound,” Geva explains. “The IMS software can be plugged into Sphera to train the monitoring crew. As operators’ interactions should be in a fully autonomous operation, there’s always going to be room for mistakes. So, the twinning software closely models the exact dynamics of the Goshawk and how it behaves in different weather conditions. As much as it was originally intended as a development tool, it has migrated to become a training solution too, which we now sell to other companies.” Threat detection and take-off Once an end-user’s detection sensors and infrastructure have picked up a potential threat, the signal and location are sent to the central IMS network, which then selects the ideal UAV for the job, based on factors such as proximity, the absence of geofencing-related obstacles and flight-readiness, including health and battery energy. Cameras inside each Nest look down at a set of health status and battery charge indicators on the Goshawk’s hull, which function as typical for industrial machinery status LEDs: particular flashing sequences or levels will indicate problems that the remote operator (or a technician in the field, if present) can address. “But, obviously, the wireless radios in the Nest and UAV are working all the time, because the UAVs must always be kept warm for sudden take-off, so they can constantly communicate their health status to each other, with specific internal checklists running on the UAV persistently, covering all subsystems. April/May 2024 | Uncrewed Systems Technology When a potential threat is detected, the signal and location are sent via the IMS to the ideal UAV, which then launches to intercept