Swarm up to the idea

A Boeing lab experiments with multiple unmanned vehicle behaviors

January 11, 2017 in Technology

In a nondescript building in St. Charles, Mo., a small team of Boeing employees is helping create the next big step for autonomous vehicles.

The team at the Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory is turning toys into tools. By applying advanced research techniques, these highly trained engineers seek to make teams of autonomous vehicles work together, whether they’re at sea, on land or in the air. That ability to coordinate their movements makes these vehicles much more capable.

Among the futuristic features in this lab is a high resolution blended projection system, which casts a large moving display of an actual landscape onto the lab floor. The system helps the team develop and test vision-based technologies, such as image processing algorithms or the detection of moving objects in scenery.

"The system gives us a new viewpoint and helps us program the unmanned systems in better ways for use in search and rescue operations, dull, dirty or dangerous activities or military operations," said Mike Abraham, lab manager. "Plus, it’s just so cool."

To view a video of the team working with the vehicles and talking about their roles, click the still image at the top of this page.

To read more about this team’s work, visit the December 2016 edition of Boeing Frontiers magazine by clicking here.