Created under a Partnership Intermediary Agreement between Doolittle Institute and the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), SOFWERX is a non-profit organization that facilitates collaborations with small businesses, innovators, academia, industry, government & innovation spaces to solve warfighter problems. One of their biggest yearly events is ThunderDrone RPE, which showcases new, novel, and provocative offensive capability experiments in the Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) field. Taking place at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, from June 18-20, day 1 will be center stage for Game of Drones, where several companies will exhibit their own innovative C-UAS systems for cash awards from a purse of $600,000.
Nikola Powersports is one of the exclusive participants in the showcase. Their experiment will feature the Reckless UTV outfitted with Aimlock's world’s first active stabilization and auto-targeting technology for small arms platforms. and a fully autonomous drone system developed by Planck Aerosystems. The objective is to demonstrate an integrated, mobile vehicle system that can deploy and recover a UAS from the Reckless. The system should also permit an operator to engage a stationary target while the vehicle is moving. The ultimate intent is to show that the vehicle operators can achieve complex tasks such as UAS operation and accurate weapons engagement even while the vehicle is in motion.
AimLock™ is the world’s first active stabilization and auto-targeting technology for small arms platforms. It combines the fire-control precision of large remote weapons systems with active target detection and continuous aim-correction in a fully-integrated, actuated, miniaturized package. The technology can be applied to almost any small arms platform to provide unprecedented probability of hit and a dramatic reduction in time-to-engagement.
Attached at the top of the Reckless is AimLock™’s R-M1 remotely operated weapon stations (ROWS). It delivers unparalleled target acquisition speed and unprecedented hit probabilities to the warfighter. Each R-Series product includes an existing ROWS and existing weapon from proven manufacturers, which have been optimized for integration with a AimLock’s ruggedized computing and display module and a gamer-style controller. The entire system comprises the world’s first fully integrated, auto-targeting remotely operated weapon station. R-Series products can be mounted to virtually any platform—including tripods, buildings, ATVs/UTVs, ground vehicles, boats, and helicopters—providing an ultra-portable system with maximum versatility.
Planck Aerosystems is the first autonomous drone company to focus on operating from moving vehicles. Their drone intelligence technology, including specialized aircraft systems, artificial intelligence, and advanced computer vision software provide a safer, faster, and more efficient way to perform real-time situational awareness, inspection, and object detection tasks from moving vehicles.
On the top rear of Reckless is the Shearwater® Drone System, Planck Aero’s flagship drone system designed specifically to operate from moving platforms, both off road and offshore. It features fully autonomous drone operation, including push-button precision takeoff and landing, a powerful onboard computer for advanced computer and real-time object detection and tracking, and a secure digital data link. With Shearwater®, users do not have to stop what they are doing to pilot the drone or stop moving while the drone is operating.
Last week, the three companies met at a Colorado ranch located near the ski resort town of Breckrenridge. In preparation for the upcoming Game of Drones, they tested their products and technology in conjunction with the planned demo for the competition.