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Autonomous Systems Group

The Autonomous Systems group advances technologies associated with uncrewed ground, air and sea vehicles. As part of the Geospatial Science and Human Security Division, the group works with various government agencies and private companies to solve hard problems related to national security, emergency response, nuclear nonproliferation, infrastructure protection/monitoring, data collection, wildfire detection/mitigation and more. Current research is utilizing advanced edge computing hardware and software to implement autonomy, artificial intelligence, machine learning, photogrammetry, 3D modelling and other computationally intensive tasks at the edge. The group has patents for and specializes in multi-modal communication methods which help facilitate beyond visual line of sight operation, operation in austere environments, cloud-connectivity, swarming and inter-vehicle collaboration.

The group has several FAA qualified pilots with immediate access to various test ranges on the ORNL campus including open fields, forests, hills, water and a large netted enclosure. By combining expertise in embedded systems, sensors, software, aviation systems, and mechanical engineering with unique facilities and training, the group is a leading research and development organization for remote, uncrewed ground and air systems.

Long-Persistence VTOL for Wildfire Detection

Development of a long-persistence VTOL aircraft, control and communication system to support wildfire detection and characterization.