Autopilot
Design &
Development
Software Development


Contact Information

Roger Lopez
Manager
Autonomous Systems & Controls
(210) 522-3832
rlopez@swri.org

The U.S. Army, Air Force, and other agencies needed small, locally controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance, data relay stations, ground-placed sensor data acquisitions, and chem-bio data collection. These UAVs needed to be:

  • Easily programmable
  • Autonomous in flight
  • Simple to operate

A small, lightweight, low-power, self-contained flight management system (FMS) was required for controlling the UAV.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) designed and developed the FMS for the US Army Buster Program, providing a low-cost, small, and lightweight FMS with full autonomous launch, flight, and recovery functions as proscribed during the mission planning activity. The miniature FMS contains:

  • Autopilot functions
  • GPS guidance
  • Air-to-ground data link
  • Barometric sensors
  • Power supplies for aircraft control functions

Data can be recorded to internal disk or chip memory.

Image: Southwest Research Institute designed and developed the FMS for the US Army Buster® Program, providing a low-cost, small, and lightweight FMS with full autonomous launch, flight, and recovery functions as proscribed during the mission planning activity.  Buster® UAV Courtesy of Mission Technologies

Southwest Research Institute designed and developed the FMS for the US Army Buster® Program, providing a low-cost, small, and lightweight FMS with full autonomous launch, flight, and recovery functions as proscribed during the mission planning activity. Buster® UAV Courtesy of Mission Technologies

Related Terminology

aircraft engine performance  •  autopilot design and development  •  unmanned aerial vehicle  •  flight management system   •  Buster Program  •  GPS guidance  •  air-to-ground data link  •  barometric sensor  •  aircraft control

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.

04/15/14