Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have several components: 1) human element, 2) command and control, 3) unmanned aircraft, 4) communication data link, 5) payload, and 6) launch and recovery. These, combined, create a UAS. Primarily, we are concerned with the dynamics between three components—the human-in-command, the control, and the aircraft. The unmanned aircraft (UA) can be fixed-wing, rotor-wing, or lighter-than-air without a human on board. And there are several implementations on how to pilot a UA, the control ranges from one that uses a continual data link to allow a pilot to remotely operate the aircraft to a wholly autonomous flight control system independent of outside signals, or a combination of both. With the first implementation, the aircraft is totally remote-controlled with an external pilot. The only purpose of the autopilot system is to stabilize the aircraft’s flight. Without the pilot, the aircraft would crash. Second, the UA follows preprogrammed instructions without operator intervention. Fully autonomous UAS can fly from takeoff to landing without human assistance. And third, the aircraft’s autopilot handles takeoff and landing without pilot interaction. In emergencies, the pilot-in-command can override the autopilot to change course or avoid a hazard since the autopilots follow specified waypoints.
Technically, an unmanned aircraft is a misnomer because humans are essential to system operation, and it has been proposed to replace the name with remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) or remotely piloted vehicles (RPV) in recent years.
Are there perceivable vulnerabilities in each implementation? First, the pilot, who is not onboard the UA, can simply perform a maneuver that undermines the aircraft’s structural integrity, causing an inflight breakup. This would endanger ground dwellers. Also, the ground pilot may lose UA contact during the flight. Where would the UA go? This would also compromise the safety of the people, below. Where does Valmiz come in? UA hazards must be prevented through foolproof procedures. Since autopilots are required for UA to fly in manned airspace and pilot’s visual acquisition is essential for aircraft collision avoidance and when the weather is too bad for visual avoidance. First, the keyword system of Valmiz allows you to extract compound information from a knowledge base, using only single-word commands, that can be expressed through keyboard, voice, or external data. With it, the pilot can perform rapid command execution to a UA. This allows the operator to perform multiple parallel operations that are important to mission-critical systems. With Valmiz as an interface, the UA could communicate any sensing, detection, and information processing that would aid the pilot-in-command with control and decision-making. When the UA relies on an outside signal, Valmiz can also increase security by providing communication encryption, which can block malicious commands that may override control over the UA. In instances when the signal from the ground control is severed in flight, the autopilot will perform its lost-link profile. While Valmiz is actively waiting for instructions, it will provide continuous stream of information on the pilot’s Heads Up Display (HUD) about parameters that are important to a mission, that are otherwise difficult to extract through normal means. These information can give the operator insights and analysis. With Valmiz’s security in place, it can prevent signal jamming or any interruptions in this crucial procedure. Moreover, if multiple UA are airborne, communication security not only to ground control-UA but also UA-UA should be of utmost priority.
UAS autopilots use redundant technologies. Most UAS autopilots can undertake a lost-link technique if the ground control station-air vehicle connection is lost. Most of these processes include building a lost-link profile to load mission flight profiles (altitudes, flight routes, and speeds) into the system before aircraft launch.
Second, a completely autonomous aircraft may also do complex missions but there are several downsides. A completely autonomous flight control system may be emulated on a computer, and at the same time, countermeasures may be developed against it. Identifying program faults makes defeating the autonomous system easy, Valmiz can aid in determining these system vulnerabilities. Security patches may then immediately apply or reconfigure the UAS to enforce additional security. Also, complete automation alters pilot-control/command-aircraft dynamics. There is no chain of responsibility, thus UA cannot use any form of fatal force which limits their use. Even if genuine artificial intelligence allows UA to behave independently without human intervention, the accountability factor would still prohibit UAS from replacing ground control. System and automation are deaf, unable to communicate, and limited to the system design. What may result from uneven dynamics? These are called automation surprises; these arise when the system behaves unexpectedly or is unresponsive. The UA becomes unpredictable and near impossible to pilot. The pilot-control/command-aircraft dynamics should now be maintained. Imagine a UAS augmented with Valmiz: it can lighten the operator’s workload, improve situational awareness, and increase UA cooperation. Valmiz can interact and communicate with the pilot which prevents automation surprises. Valmiz’s Augmentive Artificial Intelligence (AAI) helps the operator by giving him more capabilities. It can enhance human-UA cooperation, which will, in turn, improve overall performance and dependability and reduce operator frustration. Ultimately, the goal is not the replace the pilot with a sentient UAS but to unburden the pilot’s workload (both physically and mentally), provide a better understanding and awareness of the current situation (pre, post, and in-flight), and even in the event of the pilot’s loss of control, the augmented automation is trustworthy to complete the task it was given. These features are available using the full potential of Valmiz. If you want to get involved, send us a note.