Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Airspace Management System (UAMS) solved one of the more difficult challenges facing military services and their industry partners — the Company has successfully demonstrated the ability to deconflict groups of in-flight UAVs during a test near Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania. Sponsored by the U.S. Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, a team lead by Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATL) developed UAMS as a battalion echelon system that deconflicts flight paths of multiple, small UAVs with limited on-board sensors, communications, and processing resources. UAMS also uses its own on-board sensors to "see-and-avoid" obstacles and other aircraft.
UAMS uses a ground-based airspace manager and UAV-based intelligent software agents to distribute the problem of airspace management. The system separates deconfliction into three activities: maintaining situational awareness and common, relevant operating picture; detecting conflict; and modifying flights paths. UAMS performs these activities on a centralized server or distributes them to the UAVs for deconfliction. It can also use a combination of both techniques, dynamically shifting among the three performance approaches based on the situation, user-defined policies based on terrain, communications load, server load, and other factors. UAMS also uses sensor input to detect and react to obstacles, giving the UAV a "see-and-avoid" capability, allowing the UAV to react quickly while UAMS deconflicts the new path with other UAVs.