Thursday, June 17, 2010

U.S. Navy Awards Lockheed Martin Contract to Pioneer Technology to Efficiently Manage Groups of Unmanned Vehicles

The Office of Naval Research awarded Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories a $2.5 million, 18-month contract to pioneer a technology that helps watchstanders manage groups of unmanned vehicles more efficiently. 

The traditional, vehicle-centric approach assigns a single person to a single vehicle and restricts their access to information from across their team, which can create stovepipes and uneven workload. Lockheed Martin's unique software system -- called Supervision of Unmanned vehicles Mission Management by Interactive Teams or SUMMIT, for short -- introduces a mission-centric approach that allows watchstanders to fluidly share information and tasks, equally distribute workload, complete mission analysis faster, and improve situational awareness. 

Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories developed and evaluated SUMMIT as part of an 18-month contract awarded in April 2008. SUMMIT was developed for Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mine Countermeasures mission package, and has the potential to be expanded to other mission packages and platforms. 

Naval personnel from the LCS Mine Warfare detachment evaluating SUMMIT were extremely impressed with the mission-centric approach of the system including the ability to hand off tasks to teammates and the integration of all mission tasks into a coherent interface accessible by all team members. Their evaluation showed advances over the traditional vehicle-centric approach which assigns a single operator to a single vehicle for the duration of a mission. Improvements included completing post mission analysis in half the time and a 22 percent improvement in operator situational awareness. 

One warfighter said, "SUMMIT basically takes everything and makes it a one stop shop for what we need." 

"We have brought SUMMIT from concept to reality," said Jerry Franke, Lockheed Martin SUMMIT program manager. "In this next phase of the program we'll continue to mature, demonstrate, and prepare the system for transition to the fleet."

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