DARPA is known for doing some pretty outlandish things, partly in the world of technology and partly in the world of military. And often, those sectors cross paths. DARPA's Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) program has launched this week, aiming to transform how unattended sensors are developed for the military by using an original design manufacturer (ODM) process similar to that of the commercial smartphone industry. The goal is to develop low-cost, rapidly updatable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors in less than a year, a marked improvement to the current three-to-eight year development process.
The program has developed the core ADAPT hardware and software package using a customized Android Operating System (OS) to provide capabilities common to all ISR sensors. The program recently completed its first reference design and developed application-specific software for an unattended ground sensor (UGS) that uses the ADAPT core. This new UGS could provide users with a cost-effective ground sensing capability.
The UGS design is a very small cylinder. It features applications to remotely sense ground activity for a number of potential military applications. The sensor is self-powered and can wirelessly network with other sensors or user interfaces, such as a video monitor at an operations center. It's said that DARPA may develop additional reference designs that integrate the ADAPT core and sensor-specific apps into airborne, sea and undersea sensor designs. Researchers recently removed the control interface of a small quad-copter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and replaced it with the ADAPT core. This successfully provided flight control input to the UAV and marked an initial step in applying the ADAPT core to other sensor reference designs.
So, now that Android is officially enlisted, is there anything that Google can't find out?