Unmanned Systems Technology 027 l Hummingbird XRP l Gimbals l UAVs insight l AUVSI report part 2 l O’Neill Power Systems NorEaster l Kratos Defense ATMA l Performance Monitoring l Kongsberg Maritime Sounder

22 In conversation | Nick Colosimo work out whether we were on a collision course, and we’d instigate an avoidance manoeuvre in accordance with good airmanship and the rules of the air. “Ultimately, what we were doing there was to replicate human see-and- avoid capabilities to a high level of performance and ultimately equivalence. I think we exceeded equivalence.” The Surrogate was also used to reduce the technical risk in a mission system for the Mantis medium altitude long endurance unmanned air vehicle demonstrator, which included a prototype synthetic aperture radar (SAR) from Selex-ES (now Leonardo) and a new Inmarsat broadband satcom system. “We could have the machine fly a route, operate the SAR, generate images, find objects of interest autonomously within the images and then push the image ‘chips’ back to a human analyst through satcom,” he says. The analyst would then classify the object or ask the aircraft to take another look. Progress has been rapid in the decade since this project. “Artificial intelligence is getting to the point where neural networks can start to classify many of those things,” Colosimo says. “But how much you can trust that, I’m not so sure. “It depends on what you are trying to achieve in terms of the military task. If it is imperative to distinguish one object from another, then you still need to put it in front of a well-trained human analyst.” Mentors and bugs Among the many people he regards as mentors is technical innovation engineer at telecoms testing company Spirent, Dr Rafal Zbikowski. When he was professor of control theory at Cranfield, Zbikowski changed Colosimo’s perspective on problem-solving through his work on insect flight. Before aerodynamic theory caught up, the joke in circulation was that bees shouldn’t be able to fly but hadn’t seen the memo. Zbikowski’s work on aero- servo elastics showed how insect wings bend radically with airflow to exploit techniques including vortex generation to provide lift and control. Aero-elasticity had long been considered a resonance-inducing nuisance that had to be mitigated in August/September 2019 | Unmanned Systems Technology Any decisions involving lethal effects are the preserve of humans, but routing, detecting and avoiding threats and so on, the machine can do that The Tempest Future Combat Air System concept could result in a manned aircraft capable of managing several unmanned versions of itself