Combined Autonomous System for ‘Detect and Track’
De Peel Airbase in the Netherlands was the venue for a demonstration, by German defence prime Rohde & Schwarz and British startup Openworks Engineering, of a combined autonomous system to detect and track unmanned aircraft.
The system combined Rohde & Schwarz’s ARDRONIS detection system with Openworks’ SKYAI detect/classify/track AI-based motion-control system. Both were integrated using the new SAPIENT standard [Sensing for Asset Protection with Integrated Electronic Networked Technology]: this interoperative architecture lay at the heart of the NATO Technical Interoperability Exercise at De Peel, run to evaluate a range of sensors and C2 solutions against escalating UAS threats.
The ARDRONIS equipment works by running spectrum analyses, and provides primary detection to locate both the unmanned aircraft and its remote operator. SKYAI takes the 2D data from ARDRONIS and combines them with data provided by SAPIENT from other sensors. SKYAI takes control of any cameras in the network, to autonomously search for the unmanned aircraft, classifies the returns automatically, and streams video to operators for further analysis. The data fusion conducted by SKYAI results in full 3D location information being obtained, and allows for the target UAS to be tracked.
The exercise demonstrated the entire concept successfully, and the companies are looking ahead to further collaborative work which will develop their combined capabilities. “It is really exciting to collaborate with Rohde & Schwarz on this exercise and the combination of our technology,” said Openworks Managing Director, Chris Down. “We share the same enthusiasm and drive to develop the best-performing systems. I know there will be more to come from this partnership.”