Adjustable Balanced Autonomy for Cargo/Casualty Unmanned Systems (ABACUS)

Period of Performance: 05/09/2011 - 03/12/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aptima, Inc.
12 Gill Street Array
Woburn, MA 01801
Principal Investigator


Future operations will increasingly utilize Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) to accomplish missions which involve a high degree of uncertainty, such as complex cargo and casualty evacuation. Quite often these missions require U.S. and coalition forces to face challenging and dangerous environments with little advance knowledge or information about their surroundings. Such situations may also require novice users to operate a UAS without the knowledge, skills, or abilities that experienced aviators possess. A scalable user interface approach is needed to enable a wide range of users to interact with highly autonomous VTOL systems. Aptima and our partners propose to address this challenge by developing ABACUS (Adjustable Balanced Autonomy for Cargo/Casualty Unmanned Systems), an application that supports high-level human/UAS interaction and includes: An adjustable autonomy framework that will guide the level of UAS autonomy and adjust to the level of human operator involvement; A scalable user interface based on ecological interface design and capable of using multimodal inputs including 2D/3D gestures/voice; and State of the art automation algorithms that incorporate mission objectives, priorities, constraints, and knowledge from human operators.