Airbus uses advanced flight control in unprecedented drone swarm demonstration


Over the Baltic Sea in a test zone controlled by Germany, European aerospace and defence giant Airbus has demonstrated the ability of a drone team to interact intelligently with a manned aircraft in what it described as an unprecedented swarm achievement for Europe. 

The swarm of Do-DT25 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was able to provide situational awareness to a mission group commander located a safe distance away aboard the manned aircraft, company officials say -- a taste of a smart, modular and connected future in which such interactions are a crucial air power force multiplier.

To make this manned-unmanned teaming happen, several capabilities and enabling technologies are necessary at sufficient maturity levels Airbus officials say -- “from teaming/swarming algorithms and new sensors to mission management systems for command and control assistance by the manned aircraft’s crew.”

Biomimetic swarm algorithms are notoriously challenging. An important factor being tested as part of the trails was the Airbus flight management and flight control systems designed in-house for specific use in unmanned air vehicles.