Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2019

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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32  June/July 2019 unmanned systems inside PROJECT WATCH Innovative Worldwide UAS Use I n Greek my tholog y, the god K ratos emblemizes strength, so much so that he supervises the binding of a Titan, Prometheus, for sharing fire with we mere mortals. In the general population, Kratos' current fame is as the star of the popular "God of War" video games. But in the defense world, San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is f lying high—in both senses of the phrase. Successive days this June saw the firm win air force and navy contracts for target drones. And with growth across divisions from unmanned sys- tems to microwave electronics to turbine technologies, the stock market launched a 39% gain in Kratos stock over the month of May. Kratos also has scored by transferring technology to an under-the-radar domestic war zone—the world of roadside construction and repair. As a harrowing car-crash video from Kratos civilian partner Royal Tr uck & Equipment reveals, a stunning 799 road crew and civilian drivers died in work zone accidents across the U.S. during 2017. MIGRATING TECHNOLOGY "In the military, we're teaching minimum exposure to risk," noted Maynard Factor, director of business devel- opment for Kratos' Unmanned Systems Division. "The concept here was to eliminate dangerous job situations through driverless technologies." Factor works out of Kratos' Fort Walton Beach, Florida, facility, and has been with the company since 2011. Kratos' highway safety solution is the ATMA, or Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator. In this con- figuration, a human-driven "Leader Vehicle" is followed by an unmanned "Follower Vehicle"—the ATMA. The two vehicles utilize Kratos' automation components to enable unmanned operation, and the system can be driven manually if needed. Both trucks carry an on- board computer, a V2V communications system (en- crypted, frequency hopping, non-line of sight), and an operator control unit and user interface. The Follower vehicle adds actuators for steering, braking and ac- celeration control, as well as sensors for dealing with obstacles, e-Stop redundancy and a video camera. GPS data—"eCrumbs"—is transmitted back to the Follower vehicle, which synchs itself to the Leader's position, path and speed. The intent is for the ATMA to protect with precision. If an errant driver veers into a work-crew zone or runs up on, say, slow-moving road-striping equipment, the rearmost, now-unmanned, truck takes the brunt of the impact. A highway worker no longer has to risk piloting a moving crash barrier. Lifelong injury, painful rehabilitation and even death can be mitigat- ed or avoided—as can legal and medical costs that can reach seven figures an incident. Initially, the ATMA met a Department of Defense objec- tive: to reduce what Kratos lit- erature describes as "the number of warfighters needed to support dangerous Forward Operating Base [FOB] resupply efforts." Then, in 2014, Factor recalled "demon- strating one of my autonomous military vehicles when somebody from a department of transportation stopped by and said, 'I didn't realize you could retrofit a vehicle for highway work.' " Factor sees the battlefield-to-roadside shift as evolu- tionary. "We really changed very little; we took off the rocket launchers," he joked. "We were able to leverage the technology. The hardware control systems leveraged very well." But if Kratos was on top of the ATMA system, it still needed a commercial partner. And so, Kratos went to Royal, which Factor saw as "a subject matter expert dedi- cated to safety in the highway maintenance arena. …They are the largest manufacturer of TMA trucks in the U.S., In 2017, 799 people died from roadside work zone accidents across the United States. Military developer Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, joined by Royal Truck & Equipment, has fi elded an Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator to curb the carnage. by Abe Peck Photos courtesy of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions. From War Zone TO WORK ZONE In the military, we're teaching minimum exposure to risk. The concept was to eliminate dangerous job situations through driverless technologies." Maynard Factor, director of business development, Kratos Unmanned Systems Division Project Watch DEFENSE COMMERCIAL NEXUS

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