Optimized route finding for air and ground vehicles

Advanced route finding technology for manned and autonomous vehicles utilizing real-time weather, traffic, and diverse obstacle conditions

Software & Information Technology

The task of navigating through airspace is becoming increasingly more complex and dangerous. Pilots of both manned and autonomous vehicles are faced with more air traffic, additional no-fly zones and of course the ever-changing weather. To deal with this risk to vehicle survivability and basic safety of the skies, Army researchers have developed the Automated Impacts Routing (AIR) software application. AIR provides users the ability to find optimized paths through airspace and even ground space taking into consideration multiple and dynamic adverse conditions that can determine mission success or failure.

Screen capture of AIR-generated 4D flight paths as playback files in Google Earth (KML output format).

AIR  operates as a web service or a standalone desktop application, is platform independent and has been successfully tested on Windows and Linux operating systems. The highly efficient application provides the ability to update and change routing during operation based on continuously changing conditions.

Most routing algorithms have limitations, such as finding a path using pre-defined networks. Pre-defined networks limit the solution space for the routing result. AIR overcomes this limitation by allowing entire grids for multiple levels (3D) to be ingested, with values of adverse conditions, e.g., weather, for each grid cell defined for the entire grid. AIR execution results in an optimized path not necessarily along a pre-defined network, lending a complete solution that may not have otherwise been considered.

The web service version of AIR is capable of asynchronously calculating optimized paths avoiding adverse conditions and obstacles at multiple resolutions, taking multiple user-defined waypoints (mission critical points to travel to), platform speed, risk level, and 3D volumes/obstacles to avoid as inputs.

AIR has been developed with coordination between multiple DoD organizations, including the Army’s Tactical Airspace Integration System (TAIS) as well as the Air Force 557th Weather Wing (formerly AFWA) Air Force Weather Web Services (AFW-WEBS).

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