The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.

Technical Capabilities

Tactical GN&C

Our tactical guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) systems capabilities provide innovative solutions for assured battlefield outcomes for warfighters, sensors, and vehicles. Key attributes for tactical applications are high precision and accuracy, operation in challenging environments, and low size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) constraints. Highlights of the tactical GN&C systems capability are:

  • Anywhere, anytime navigation
  • Vision-aided GN&C
  • Precision aerial delivery
  • Advanced projectiles
  • Targeting

Anywhere, Anytime NavigationDraper creates navigation solutions for a wide range of platforms operating in various complex, GPS-challenged environments. Our robust multisensor solutions can take advantage of the state-of-the-art inertial systems or provide cost savings by adopting Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) sensors.Draper actively advances research in nontraditional alternative navigation sensors. One example is the Coded Filter, which enables reliable position and orientation knowledge to be extracted from low-cost sensors, even in degraded environments. It usesa transformative estimation approach to detect and correct a broad class of non-Gaussian errors such as multipath.

Anywhere, anytime navigation technology was demonstrated on the Personal Positioning System (PPS), which incorporated Draper’s patented GPS Deep Integration algorithm, along with accelerometers, gyroscopes, a Doppler radar, a baroaltimeter, and a magnetometer.As the user walks through buildings, outdoors, elevators, and parking garages, the algorithm determines which sensor information should be used for navigation.These concepts are extended with collaborative navigation for groups of soldiers and vehicles on the Inertial Doppler Radio Locator program.

Vision-Aided GN&CBy exploiting computer vision techniques through various algorithms and systems, Draper can improve navigation and perception for UAVs and pedestrian navigation applications.Different algorithms can be used to provide either velocity information, which helps bound error growth, or to provide absolute position and orientation measurements from landmark correlation, which serves as an alternative to GPS.Vision-aided GN&C requires robust implementations of algorithms that can operate seamlessly through different environments. Draper has demonstrated both stereo and monocular vision systems, and has expertise in adapting algorithms for embedded systems.

Precision Aerial Operations GN&CDraper develops GN&C technology for airdrop and UAVs.Airdrop and autonomous systems allow operations to shift risk from warfighters to technology, saving lives and resources. Continuous science and technology development ensures development of new domain leading technologies. For example, for airdrop systems, Draper has pioneered the use of real-time wind estimation algorithms, multisystem communication and collaboration, and integration of vision-aided navigation for GPS-denied navigation operation. Draper’s GN&C software for payloads from 5 to 42,000lb includes obstacle avoidance capability utilizing digital terrain data to actively avoid complex terrain and environmental features.

Draper develops technology in two complementary facets of precision aerial delivery: the Joint Precision Aerial Delivery System (JPADS) Mission Planner, and guided parafoil GN&C software. Draper’s mission planning work includes automation of bundle release from cargo aircraft, optimization and planning for mass aerial assault missions, and intelligent collateral damage estimation. Draper-guided parafoil GN&C software is platform agnostic and has been ported and flown successfully on a wide array of vendor hardware platforms, resulting in significant cost savings and trusted performance for the government.

Advanced Precision-Guided ProjectilesDraper is focused on developing and transitioning technology to enable rapid prosecution of targets in cluttered environments with low collateral damage. Our capability in advanced projectiles builds on a long history of innovations, such as GPS/INS integration that rewrote the standards for precision weapon accuracy. Draper continues to support development and demonstration of GN&C for projectiles that operate in adverse signal environments.

TargetingAccurate knowledge of target location has become a critical factor for precision engagement. Draper is adapting our gimbaled MEMS technology to provide rapid, precise azimuth measurements in a much smaller package. These improvements will allow more flexible operations while reducing load on the warfighter. Draper also has used image-aiding to improve target location from aerial images and to enable more natural and reliable target hand-off between ground and air operators.