Johns Hopkins APL Software Helps DARPA Test UAVs in GPS-Denied Areas

Jeff Brody

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory deployed a testing system that helps evaluate unmanned aerial vehicles in GPS-denied environments to support the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s “collaborative autonomy” effort.

DARPA used the APL-built White Force Network platform to vitually integrate navigation and communciations features into UAVs and simulate threats as part of the Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment program, the lab said Thursday.

The CODE software allows unmanned systems to work together under a single operator and ensures that vehicles communicate effectively in “denied” environments while mitigating disruptions and bandwidth-related challenges.

Reed Young, program manager for robotics and autonomy within APL’s Research and Exploratory Development Department, said that WFN also helps test directors view data related to test assets and software functions to activate denial services.

APL based WFN on live, virtual and constructive simulation tools the lab developed through the Department of Defense’s Safe Testing of Autonomy in Complex Interactive Environments initiative.

Young added that efforts are underway to create multiple "spin-offs” of the CODE and WFN platforms.

The Naval Air Systems Command will assume responsibility of the systems once the CODE project has been completed and intends to expand the adoption of these technologies to other Department of Defense programs.

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