|Automated Planning Software for a Dynamic Heterogeneous Collection of Manned & Unmanned Entities (PLANDROID™ )|
The PLANDROID™ technology is an automated asset employment and redeployment planning framework for world state information management, asset capabilities characterization, mission and task requirements planning, plan assessment, and decision support.
The advent of advanced sensors and remote control technologies has expanded the use of robotic elements and unmanned combat vehicles for a variety of roles and mission types. The increased use of robotic elements, however, also adds to the complexities involved in the planning and decision making regarding these asset deployments.
Planning for asset deployments is currently a laborious, manual process complicated by the dynamic nature of the mission conditions. Planners define missions in terms of a sequence of tasks to which they then seek to match available manned and/or robotic assets and capabilities. This matching of assets to missions is made without the aid of conflict identification and resolution support tools, and, consequently, attention to detail and feasibility cross-checking suffer, leading to adequate rather than optimal plan solutions.
Maximizing the benefit of these assets on a consistent basis requires the use of automated planning support tools, both to reduce the time and effort required to develop feasible plan options and to promote the optimized application of those assets in support of the various, often competing, mission goals. These tools must also be extensible, easily adapting to changes in available sources of world state information, changes in the set of available assets and asset types, changes in asset functional capabilities, changes in the battlefield situation dynamics, changes in asset employment doctrine and constraints, etc.
In the Automated Planning Software for a Dynamic Heterogeneous Collection of Manned & Unmanned Entities (PLANDROID™) initiative, KBSI designed, developed, and deployed a goal-directed, automated asset employment and redeployment planning framework. This framework provides planners with the ability to more rapidly and effectively (i) maintain situation awareness of the conditions, constraints, and goals governing the planned use of manned and robotic entities; (ii) generate candidate plans for the effective use of these assets; and (iii) identify and select the plans that most effectively address current and anticipated needs.
The goal of the PLANDROID™ initiative was to develop an automated environment for world state information management, asset capabilities characterization, mission and task requirements planning, candidate asset employment plan generation, plan assessment, and decision support. In Phase I of the initiative, KBSI investigated the feasibility and the relative merits of different planning approaches and defined an architecture for the tools needed to support the PLANDROID™ technology functions. Part of this research phase involved investigating different algorithms for planning and decision making. KBSI used the WORKSIM® dispatch planning and scheduling tool as an algorithm analysis testbed—the WORKSIM® tool has been used to provide advanced support planning and scheduling in a number of environments including depot MRO and commercial shipbuilding.
The PLANDROID™ technology provides an important step in realizing a function framework that enables the optimized use of manned and robotic assets in support of competing and rapidly changing mission goals. The PLANDROID™ technology may also provide the first step for more idealized levels of integration between planners and robotic assets, with robotic elements communicating world state information, anticipating needs, intelligently generating plans for the effective application of robotic assets in support of manned system operations, and executing those plans in a coordinated fashion.