Advanced Systems Technology
Advanced Platforms
"SPC has expertly supported some of the most innovative autonomous, air, land, sea, cyber, and space platform systems ever created"

satellite With 20 years of experience in advanced technology development, test, and evaluation, SPC has expertly supported some of the most innovative autonomous, air, land, sea, cyber, and space platform systems ever created. SPC employs senior subject matter experts (SMEs), financial analysts, and program managers who operate out of the company’s in-house ARG to provide invaluable technical analysis supporting the development of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) most advanced systems. The company’s unparalleled support has included key program contributions helping to drive revolutionary improvements in DoD platform capability. Just some of the advanced platform programs SPC provides comprehensive support are mentioned below.

Adaptable Navigation Systems (ANS)
stealthy shipThe military relies heavily on the Global Positioning System (GPS) for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT), but GPS access is easily blocked by methods such as jamming. In addition, many environments in which the country’s military operates (inside buildings, in urban canyons, under dense foliage, underwater, and underground) have limited or no GPS access. To solve this challenge, Adaptable Navigation Systems (ANS) seeks to provide GPS-quality PNT to military users regardless of the operational environment.

ANS addresses three basic challenges through its Precision Inertial Navigation Systems (PINS) and All Source Positioning and Navigation (ASPN) efforts: 1) better inertial measurement units (IMUs) that require fewer external position fixes; 2) alternate sources to GPS for those external position fixes; and 3) new algorithms and architectures for rapidly reconfiguring a navigation system with new and non-traditional sensors for a particular mission.

Complementing DARPA's Micro-PNT program, which is developing chip-scale inertial sensors that are navigation grade or better, PINS is developing an IMU that uses cold atom interferometry for high-precision navigation without dependence on external fixes for long periods of time. Atom interferometry involves measuring the relative acceleration and rotation of a cloud of atoms within a sensor case, with potentially far greater accuracy than today's state-of-the-art IMUs.

However, because even long-duration IMUs require an eventual position fix, the ASPN effort is developing sensors that use signals of opportunity that are non-navigation signals from sources like television, radio and cell towers, and satellites, as well as natural phenomena, such as lightning.

Integrating and tuning different sensors, maps and other components into a navigation system is expensive and slow, resulting in platform and mission-specific solutions. To address this integration challenge, the ASPN effort is also developing new fusion algorithms and plug-and-play processing architectures for rapid integration and near-real-time reconfiguration or upgrading of sensors, IMU devices, maps and databases on a navigation system. By allowing flexible combinations of existing and new navigation sensors, ASPN seeks improvements in accuracy, robustness and cost of navigation systems across a wide range of platforms, environments and missions.

Mission Adaptable Rotor (MAR)
Osprey AircraftThe Mission Adaptive Rotor (MAR) program is developing and demonstrating the capability to achieve dramatic improvements in helicopter rotor performance, survivability, and sustainability through the use of active technologies that enable adaptation of the rotor throughout an expanded operating envelope. This systems-level program will also engender new rotorcraft configurations that could perform multiple missions currently conducted by different platform type models, enable new missions that rotorcraft cannot currently perform, and provide significantly wider spectrum of capability than any system currently in development.
Cyber Physical Systems (CPS)
Server RoomThe Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) portfolio is composed of classified seedlings and programs which span a broad range of technologies and applications and include elements of computer science, computer security, embedded systems design, and other electronic systems. Cyber security is acknowledged as the most critical problem facing the U.S. today. There are countless foreign and domestic adversaries seeking to subvert, disrupt, and sabotage US activities from routine financial transactions to combat operations. Securing the nation’s and military’s critical infrastructure and military weapon platforms requires expertise in embedded cyber physical systems, control systems security, applications security and development, embedded encryption systems, and wireless and computer network operations. The CPS portfolio crosses many technology thrust areas and affects space platforms, surface/subsurface ships, airborne and ground platforms, and all modern-day weapon systems. The SPC team’s experience in supporting government agencies such as the DoD, Department of Energy (DoE), IARPA, Department of Transportation, and Homeland Security as well as the petroleum, energy, and healthcare sectors, make the team exceptionally qualified in support of DARPA’s leading-edge cyber research.
UGCV-PerceptOR Integration (UPI)
Vechicle outfitted with UPISPC has extensive experience supporting a number of autonomous vehicle initiatives and their predecessor programs. The Company supported the UGCV-PerceptOR Integration (UPI) program, which combined two predecessor development efforts into one future combat system (FCS) feed program. Specifically, the Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle (UGCV) program developed vehicle prototypes that exhibited advanced performance in endurance, obstacle negotiation, and payload capability. The Perception for Off-road Robotics (PerceptOR) program was created to develop perception and autonomous navigation capabilities for ground vehicles operating in complex, off-road environments.

SPC carried out test and evaluation duties on a variety of terrains in unrehearsed manners for each of the predecessor programs as well as the UPI program. Specifically, SPC orchestrated and participated in the execution of field experiments at over ten field tests and experiments across the United States, from Camp Roberts, California to Ft. Drum, New York.

Biologically Inspired Multifunctional Dynamic Robotics (BIODYNOTICS)
BIODYNOTICS RobotThe goal of the Biodynotics program was to develop robotic platforms with biomimetic capabilities inspired by those seen in nature. The culmination of the program was two distinctly different platforms, Robotics in Scansorial Environments (RiSE) and Big Dog. RiSE’s goal was to design, build, and demonstrate a biologically inspired climbing robot with behavioral capabilities that enable it the unique ability to walk on land and climb on vertical surfaces. Big Dog, on the other hand, focused on developing a walking prototype that would prove the basics of quadruped control and terrain negotiation while carrying loads.

Big Dog grew to assume a more prominent role as its focus shifted to bearing mission-relevant weights and payloads over mission-representative terrains. This focus was due to the cooperative efforts of the United States Marine Corps (U.S.MC) who saw a need for lightening the load of the dismounted soldier. As such, the Big Dog effort was evaluated on several DARPA-hosted and U.S.MC-focused experiments that looked at mission-relevant terrain as laid out by the U.S.MC. The effort has resulted in technological breakthroughs in robotic design and control that will directly impact the capabilities of the armed forces for years to come.

Legged Squad Support System (LS3)
LS3 RobotDARPA’s Legged Squad Support System (LS3) is a dynamic robot designed to go anywhere the warfighter goes on foot. LS3 is an innovative unmanned legged vehicle that is capable of autonomously maneuvering among dismounted troops through complex terrain. Each LS3 carries up to 400 pounds of equipment and sufficient fuel for 24 hours of operation. LS3s do not need drivers, as they automatically follow their leader using computer vision or can be designed to travel to designated locations using sensing and GPS. The robots are capable of following a soldier that is 5 to 100 meters ahead, with zero burden on the operator to provide command or control signals.
Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM)
Arm RobotThe objective of DARPA’s Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program is to develop software and hardware that enables a robot to autonomously manipulate, grasp, and perform complicated tasks with little human involvement. The goal is to develop robotic platforms that operate with a high degree of autonomy, can adapt to unstructured, dynamic environments, and are capable of serving multiple military purposes across a wide variety of application domains, including counter-IED, countermine, search and rescue, weapons support, checkpoint and access control, explosive ordinance disposal, and combat casualty care.

DARPA has used robotic platforms for some time, but current robotic manipulation systems, while very useful in some instances, have significant limitations. For example, while robots perform well in certain mission environments, current systems have yet to demonstrate proficiency and flexibility across multiple mission environments. They also require burdensome human interaction and the full attention of the operator, and the time required to complete tasks generally exceeds military users’ desires. The ARM program is developing robotic systems capable of autonomously making decisions and performing complicated tasks given only a high-level description of the problem. It is expected that ARM systems will enable autonomous manipulation systems to surpass the performance level of remote manipulation systems that are currently controlled directly by human operators.