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Stavatti Unpiloted Aerospace is a design, development, implementation and production group organized to produce fully integrated Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as well as autonomous flight control laws, integrated systems and the associated hardware necessary to permit the autonomous function of Stavatti piloted and unpiloted aircraft. Stavatti Unpiloted Aerospace has evolved to address a broad spectrum of unmanned aerospace vehicle needs. Unmanned Aerospace is focusing upon clear initiatives to introduce a variety of commercial and military UAVs of various shapes and sizes for a wide variety of mission profiles. Ranging from micro-UAVs to mammoth high-altitude platforms of significant wingspan, over the next 25 years Stavatti Unpiloted Aerospace will introduce Unpiloted Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs), Unpiloted Cargo Aircraft (UCAs), Unpiloted Fire Bombers (UFBs), Unpiloted Reconnaissance Aircraft (URAs), Warfighter Unpiloted Drones (WUDs), Personal Unpiloted Aircraft (PUAs), Personal Delivery Drones (PDDs), Target Drones and Decoys and Autonomous Prompt Global Strike (APGS)

Stavatti Unpiloted Aerospace will be largely responsible for the development of unpiloted and autonomous vehicle flight control systems, guidance and navigation, artificial and synthetic intelligence and related computational hardware for direct integration into Stavatti products. This horizontal integration of core competencies enables Stavatti not only to produce dedicated unmanned aircraft, but significantly improve the performance, capabilities and safety of piloted aircraft through the creation of hybrid piloted/unpiloted aerospace vehicles.

HYBRID PILOT

By 2025, all Stavatti aircraft, piloted or unpiloted, will be capable of autonomous flight. Stavatti refers to this concept as Hybrid Pilot (HP). Unpiloted aircraft, by definition, will operate without an on-board pilot, being either remotely piloted from a ground based station, or flown autonomously via an artificially intelligent or synthetically intelligent flight control system. In this sense, unpiloted aircraft are flown either autonomously or remotely, with a Pilot-In-The-Loop. With Hybrid Pilot, Stavatti piloted aircraft will incorporate four control modes:

1) Manual
2) Manual with Active Autonomous Override/Auto Eject and Auto Recovery
3) Autonomous with Pilot-In-The-Loop
4) Autonomous Pilot-Out-Of-The Loop

These four modes are selectable by the aircraft flight crew to determine how the aircraft is flown: entirely by the flight crew, by the flight crew with autonomous over-ride, or autonomously by the aircraft’s artificially intelligent flight control system.

Conceptually, Stavatti views Unpiloted capability as a significantly evolved autopilot which is coupled to a synthetically intelligent network that integrates navigation, flight management, weapons management as well as sensors and defensive systems. This integrated, self-contained network is capable of operating either fully autonomously, based upon pre-programmed mission requirements, or in a remotely operated configuration by a pilot on-the-ground. Known as Autonomous Flight Control (AFC), the autonomous/ unmanned element of Stavatti aircraft is contained within a limited number of discrete, compact Line Removable Units (LRUs) which interface directly with the aircraft flight control system as well as the aircraft electric and data buses, with hydraulic and pneumatic control systems being servo-actuated through electric interfaces linked to the LRUs. The AFC LRUs are of black-box type incorporating software driven logic as developed by Stavatti industry team members.

In the Manual mode (Mode 1), a Stavatti aircraft is controlled conventionally by the flight crew. Autonomous Flight Control does not assume control of the aircraft and the flight crew is responsible for the safety and operation of the vehicle. In Mode 1, AFC would effectively be “off” with firewalls established to prevent AFC participation in any flight operation. The aircraft operates as a traditional, man-piloted aircraft benefiting only from the stability augmentation associated with the flight control system.

In the Manual with Active Autonomous Override/Auto Eject and Auto Recovery mode (Mode 2), a Stavatti aircraft is controlled by the flight crew, however, the AFC continuously monitors the attitude, situation and condition of the aircraft as well as that of its human flight crew. In the event of aircraft system failure or human incapacitation, the AFC serves to augment or assume control and guidance of the vehicle. Addressing a host of scenarios, Mode 2 enables such features as auto-eject sequencing for human occupants (in ejection seat equipped aircraft) in the event of eminent destruction of the aircraft, completion of aircraft maneuvers and recovery of the aircraft in the event of pilot G-LOC, mission completion in the event that the flight crew is dead or significantly incapacitated yet the aircraft remains flyable/mission capable, auto-takeoff and auto-landing, auto navigation and en-route flight to destination, assistance in the release of ordinance and assurance that targets are appropriately cued and additional features.

To dramatically improve flight safety, Mode 2 will provide a PANIC BUTTON wherein flight-crews who find themselves in-over-their-heads have a mechanism whereby once actuated via the PANIC BUTTON, the aircraft AFC will take over and use its flight abilities as programmed to recover the aircraft from the flight attitude and condition it has been most recently monitoring via air data computers, GPS receivers and laser rate gyros incorporated into the AFC. This feature is particularly valuable in the event the aircraft enters into a departure mode, such as stall/spin at low altitude while on final approach (wherein AFC will attempt to recover or orient the aircraft in such a manner as to mitigate damage due to impact) or in flat-spin modes. Generally speaking, in Mode 2, flying Stavatti aircraft will be like having a highly qualified, highly experienced, full-time check-pilot within the aircraft ready to assume control in the event of calamity. In this mode, Pilot-in-Command ejection from the aircraft automatically results in a shift to Mode 4, Autonomous Pilot-Out-Of-The Loop.

To dramatically improve flight safety, Mode 2 will provide a PANIC BUTTON wherein flight-crews who find themselves in-over-their-heads have a mechanism whereby once actuated via the PANIC BUTTON, the aircraft AFC will take over and use its flight abilities as programmed to recover the aircraft from the flight attitude and condition it has been most recently monitoring via air data computers, GPS receivers and laser rate gyros incorporated into the AFC. This feature is particularly valuable in the event the aircraft enters into a departure mode, such as stall/spin at low altitude while on final approach (wherein AFC will attempt to recover or orient the aircraft in such a manner as to mitigate damage due to impact) or in flat-spin modes. Generally speaking, in Mode 2, flying Stavatti aircraft will be like having a highly qualified, highly experienced, full-time check-pilot within the aircraft ready to assume control in the event of calamity. In this mode, Pilot-in-Command ejection from the aircraft automatically results in a shift to Mode 4, Autonomous Pilot-Out-Of-The Loop.

In the Autonomous with Pilot-In-The-Loop mode (Mode 3) a Flight Crew occupies the aircraft flight deck, but the aircraft operates autonomously. The purpose of the Flight Crew in Mode 3 is to input navigational and mission/flight profile instructions to the aircraft Flight Control and Mission Computers, to turn the aircraft “Off” and “On” and to monitor aircraft mission performance. In Mode 3 the flight crew is responsible for engaging in radio communications with ground locations, air traffic control and other aircraft while ensuring appropriate transponder and IFF programming. For military aircraft, the purpose of the flight crew in Mode 3 will also be to arm/disarm weapon systems including the arming of nuclear consent switches. In Mode 3, the flight crew serves as a “watch-dog” capable of assuming control over the aircraft in the event of AFC failure while ensuring military missions are completed with a human-in-the-loop control element.

In the Autonomous Pilot-Out-Of-The Loop mode (Mode 4) the Stavatti aircraft is unmanned, operating without the occupancy of a flight crew. In this mode the AFC serves as the automated, artificially intelligent Pilot-In-Command. In Mode 4 the aircraft is typically remotely started at a ground based control station with mission profile data being uplinked to the aircraft via a secure data link or manually installed via a computer interface flash drive or firewire connection. The AFC is responsible for takeoff, flight en-route, return flight, loiter, landing and shut-down. In a combat aircraft, the AFC is responsible for target identification, acquisition, engagement and mission completion and engagement/mission completion, return flight, loiter, landing and shut-down. For highly maneuverable combat aircraft, Mode 4 allows full realization of high-g maneuverability in excess of 13 g positive load limits otherwise impossible with a manned aircraft. Generally speaking, a standard Stavatti aircraft will be able to execute maneuvers which realize 150% greater load factors in the unmanned autonomous configuration than in the manned configuration.

Development and implementation of Hybrid Pilot is a significant undertaking which will be performed in stages. Initial elements of the Stavatti HP will focus upon Pilot-In-Command augmentation, particularly in response to G-LOC conditions. Ultimately the HP vision is to introduce a system which incorporates neural networks with a degree of self-awareness commensurate to the factors necessary to complete missions, however, Stavatti projects the HP system will not be fully evolved for another ten to fifteen years.

VISUALIZING AUTONOMY

To assist in the visualization of the unpiloted component of Stavatti aircraft one may note that the majority of renderings of Stavatti aircraft as presented on this website are of unpiloted aircraft, thereby illustrating that military aerospace, commercial aerospace and general aviation aircraft alike will be produced to the Hybrid Pilot standard.