Cassidian world-leading mobile communications technology deployed in ASTRAEA research programme
Cassidian has played a lead role in the ASTRAEA research programme by developing an innovative ad-hoc secure mobile IP networking solution that is capable of transforming the communications capabilities of unmanned aircraft.
The world-leading Mobile IP Node will enable unmanned vehicles to be deployed with a secure and robust communications network that is flexible enough to enable it to communicate in all situations with its pilot and multiple other aircraft.
At present, when you have a single aircraft with a pre-planned route, you need to implement a pre-defined communications plan or use a satellite but when there are multiple aircraft using multiple routes you are unable to use satellite communications because the latency affects the work of Air Traffic Control (ATC). The automatic establishment and switch to terrestrial links, formed by the Cassidian communications solution without technician intervention, when the aircraft density and therefore ATC workload increases will maintain safety and transparency.
Mobile IP Node can create a secure terrestrial network between multiple air platforms and any other equipped platform albeit air, land or sea based on an ad-hoc basis. It can also manage the transition from high to low workload automatically with no user interaction switching back to satellite communication where lone operation does not pose an ATC danger and a terrestrial network cannot be formed. It also negates the need for a pre-planned communications infrastructure based on a pre-planned flight plan. Automatically managing the data transmission paths the Mobile IP Node informs the application of the characteristics of the network so that data can be prioritised where necessary. Added to the inbuilt store and forward capabilities and the world leading embedded encryption technology this means that the Mobile IP Node technology creates a significant paradigm shift in mobile ad-hoc communications.
The technology, which scooped a prestigious Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Award for innovation was recently successfully trialled by Cassidian in a remote area of the Brecon Beacons in mid-Wales to test the technology in one of the most challenging communications environments.
Gary Clayton, Head of Research and Technology at Cassidian UK described Mobile IP Node as an ‘exciting next step’ in the development of communications technologies in unmanned vehicles systems.
“Mobile IP Node is a world first and will revolutionise the way manned and unmanned vehicles communicate, even in air space where conventional coverage is limited or patchy,” said Mr Clayton.
“The key feature of this technology is its ability to create an ad-hoc network that is truly mobile, secure and flexible enough to withstand the rigours of unmanned flight planning and re-planning with the platform applications forming an intelligent component in the communications system without any technical intervention.”