September 7, 2022

FLightspeed

Aerial flight, whether piloted, unmanned, or autonomous, is reliant on accurate global positioning for navigation, traffic management, and operational situational awareness. However, GPS sensors can fail or degrade in certain environments, be jammed, or even be spoofed by adversarial actors. In these conditions, how can aircraft figure out where they are without reliable GPS measurements? Our visual Terrain Relative Navigation can globally localize an aircraft in fully GPS-denied environments by recognizing landmarks similar to pilots and can even recognize these landmarks in different seasons or weather conditions. Check out our work in partnership with Spiker Helicopters and the progress we have made.

August 18, 2022

Visual Terrain Relative Navigation

Aerial flight, whether piloted, unmanned, or autonomous, is reliant on accurate global positioning for navigation, traffic management, and operational situational awareness. However, GPS sensors can fail or degrade in certain environments, be jammed, or even be spoofed by adversarial actors. In these conditions, how can aircraft figure out where they are without reliable GPS measurements? Our visual Terrain Relative Navigation can globally localize an aircraft in fully GPS-denied environments by recognizing landmarks similar to pilots and can even recognize these landmarks in different seasons or weather conditions. Check out our work in partnership with Spiker Helicopters and the progress we have made.

May 25th, 2022

Night Ops Update

How dark is the night?  Well, where we tested in Texas three weeks ago it was 0.012 lux on a cloudy, moonless night.  That's darker than our dark room.  Our navigation can hold up at these low levels by running on IR cameras.  In the coming months we'll begin to deploy hazard detection and target recognition with low-light EO and IR cameras.  Did we say any camera or what?  Passive night operations for drones, coming soon from KEF.

Thanks and shout-out to our sponsors: Mr. BK @ DTRA, Dr. LS @ CCBC, MG & DA @ SOFWERX

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January 1st, 2022

DTRA challenged KEF to fly at night using only EO/IR sensors, and we need to show results by April.  That means testing at night, in winter, in Pittsburgh. To support our dogged field teams, yesterday we bought a short bus that's rolled 320,000 miles but has a strong frame, new engine, and a fully functional lift - indicating a strong electrical system.  This bus will be our mobile deployment center, allowing us to log flight hours without making/breaking camp, while staying warm enough to alter code and analyze flight data.  It will need new tires and brakes soon, but we bought it for $0.25 per pound.  That's cheaper than raw steel!  

We love Bus.

Sponsor: DTRA, CCBC, SOFWERX

New Bus Day!

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December 16th 2021

Autonomy for Tethered UAS 

KEF was awarded a Ph. 1 SBIR to explore vision-based techniques for tethered UAS in urban environments.  The requirements are extreme, the pace is fast, and the work should be fun.  More news in March/April 2022.

Sponsor:
Army Applications Lab (AAL)

SF, USA

2023

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