DIU seeks Common Operational Database proposals
The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) published a call for solutions for the Common Operating Database program. Submissions are due by June 14.
The U.S. and Allied Joint Forces collectively ensure freedom of navigation and access to waterways around the world within a globally connected and information driven warfighting environment. This is crucial to the free flow of goods and commerce, but there are insufficient assets to maintain a constant physical presence across the many critical maritime domains. However, with a network of unmanned and autonomous platforms to augment its existing forces, the U.S. Navy can maintain Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) more efficiently and effectively.
To make progress towards this goal, the Department of Defense (DoD) has identified several types of unmanned vehicles (“UxVs”) that support its effort to deliver domain awareness to Commanders by providing mobile, autonomous sensing capacity. However, the ability of these UxVs to deliver domain awareness may be frustrated by a disconnected, denied, intermittent, and/or limited (DDIL) communications environment, which is common in military operations. In particular, currently available UxVs often require substantial bandwidth to operate effectively, and are unable to efficiently exchange information amongst both themselves and crewed platforms that would result in more effective coordination. This inability to move data to, from, and between UxVs limits DoD’s ability to operationalize data-driven battlefield advantage.
To address this challenge, UxVs will need the ability to do the following in a DDIL environment:
- Sense the UxV environment (sub-surface, surface, air) using on-board sensors (e.g., electro-optical, radar, acoustic)
- Create an operational picture of the environment (e.g., automated detection and characterization);
- Share information about the local UxV environment with other UxVs in the group
- Receive information from other UxVs in the group to form a more complete view of the environment (i.e., an “edge world model”)
- Seamlessly and rapidly be added or subtracted from a given group
- Accomplish (1) – (5) using only peer-to-peer communication mechanisms that may benefit from – but do not require – a central communications node while (a) minimizing the number of and size of messages sent and (b) gracefully handling large numbers of UxVs
- Accomplish (1) – (6) in as Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) – efficient manner as possible
Taken together, these functionalities—which we refer to as an “edge world modeling stack”—would form the basis of rapidly-scalable and reconfigurable UxV coordination for domain awareness functions if they could easily be added to arbitrary UxV platforms. At present, DoD’s lack of an edge world modeling stack limits its ability to leverage the broad space of available UxVs to improve domain awareness.
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