UAV Navigation has demonstrated the potential for remotely unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as drones, to takeoff and land from a moving vehicle to prepare for multi-purpose maritime surveillance operations.
The UAS could potentially be used to support Coast Guard missions such as maritime safety and security, fisheries control and law enforcement as well as provide an enhanced perspective for the detection of oil spills or sulfur emissions.
The autopilot functions of the UAS from UAV Navigation can perform fully autonomous maritime operation without any manual input through all flight stages including takeoff, flight plan execution and landing. The flight control system can be used to land and takeoff from moving platforms on vessels underway at sea and the system also accommodates fully automatic flight deck UAV operations.
Called Vector, the autopilot system includes reference navigation capabilities that allow the system to follow a moving landing site to perform automatic landing under dynamic conditions. The hardware is qualified to MIL-STD-810F and MIL-STD-461 for maritime environments.
In the video, a UAS takes off from a moving platform behind a vehicle and then performs an automatic landing onto a moving platform at a speed of up to 30 km/h or 16 knots. The demonstration is to simulate the movement of maritime vessels in motion at sea and what would be expected of these unmanned aircraft.
Currently, some of these uncrewed aircraft are already in use by governments and agencies such as the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).