Technological innovation through three main research thrusts provides the framework on which the ANT Center builds its dynamic research agenda. Please click on each thrust below to learn more.
Autonomous and Cooperative Systems:
When multiple vehicles interact with each other in order to accomplish a mission, navigation and timing are fundamental elements for success. The ANT Center is involved in a variety of projects that develop the autonomous capability of multiple vehicles. By developing the underlying theory, the ANT Center is seeking to leverage the use of multiple vehicles and sensors to cooperatively solve navigation and targeting challenges through experimentation.
Picture: A team of AFIT students developed a software architecture that enabled autonomous communication among a team of small, hand-launchable micro air vehicles for route surveillance.
Non-GPS Precision Navigation:
The Global Positioning System (GPS) has demonstrated the incredible value of navigation to people everywhere, including the warfighter. However, GPS does not work in some environments, such as under trees, in buildings, underground, or in the presence of significant GPS jamming. As a result, the ANT Center has been working to develop alternative technologies that will enable precision navigation in situations where GPS cannot. Examples of these technologies include vision-aided navigation, RF-beacon-based navigation, and navigation using signals of opportunity.
Picture: The Pioneer Robot (1), Mini-Whegs Bio-Inspired Robot (2), and Surveyor Robot (3) are autonomous vehicles designed to explore the interior of a building using non-GPS precision navigation technologies. Working together (4), these robots can search, geo-locate, and retrieve a target in GPS denied environments without human operator control.
Robust GPS Navigation / NAVWAR:
While many non-GPS navigation solutions are currently desired, there is still great value in improving the strength, accuracy, and reliability of GPS. The ANT Center has developed techniques to make GPSs more resistant to jamming and enhanced the ability to obtain precise (cm-level) positioning accuracy when using GPS for certain missions. Additionally, the ANT Center has conducted classified research in the NAVWAR (navigation warfare) arena.