US: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA) has announced plans to roll out a programme for the rapid development and manufacture of sensors to help power unmanned aerial, land and underwater vehicles. DARPA’s Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) programme aims to transform how unattended sensors are developed for the military by using an original design manufacturer (ODM) process similar to that of the commercial smartphone industry. The goal is to develop low-cost, rapidly updatable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors in less than a year, a marked improvement to the current three-to-eight year development process.
The programme has developed the core ADAPT hardware and software package using a customised Android Operating System (OS) to provide capabilities common to all ISR sensors. The programme recently completed its first reference design and developed application-specific software for an unattended ground sensor (UGS) that uses the ADAPT core. This new UGS could provide users with a cost-effective ground sensing capability.
The UGS design is a very small cylinder. It features applications to remotely sense ground activity for a number of potential military applications. The sensor is self-powered and can wirelessly network with other sensors or user interfaces, such as a video monitor at an operations center.