Author: Esteve Mede, CEO

Autonomous capabilities are essential for the success of Department of Defense (DoD) missions, operational safety, and survival of personnel in, particularly in the context of leveraging next-generation technology and autonomous systems on the battlefield. DoD operations increasingly rely on both manned and unmanned systems that operate in diverse and challenging environments, often beyond traditional support structures and with limited communication capabilities. These conditions necessitate advanced autonomous operations to ensure the effectiveness and safety of both human operators and the systems themselves. Over the last decade, E3S has been at the forefront of developing a robust software platform known as Nimble™, which builds on the foundational technologies and processes required for implementing sophisticated autonomous strategies.

Nimble™ is designed to transition from conventional brute-force autonomy methods to a more sophisticated “Thinking Autonomy” approach. This includes the development of comprehensive SysML-like live-models that support model-based real-time analysis and operations. Nimble™ extends the model-based systems engineering (MBSE) approach to include live models that facilitate real-time, thinking autonomous operations, which can be rapidly deployed, reused, and evolved according to mission needs.

E3S not only focuses on developing algorithms for specific autonomous reactions but also emphasizes the strategic implementation of autonomy. This strategy is informed by a blend of policy requirements, operational procedures, concepts of operations, and specific mission goals. In this framework, autonomous systems developed by E3S are optimized to utilize available resources effectively to achieve mission objectives.

The unique contributions of the E3S Nimble™ platform include the integration of key functionalities to create a comprehensive autonomous solution:

  1. Autonomy strategies that leverage operational concepts and system attributes, including redundancy and persistence strategies such as repeating commands;
  2. Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) for ongoing health assessment, anomaly detection, diagnostics, prognostics, and overall situational awareness;
  3. Extensive object libraries and system infrastructure for applications in electrical, mechanical, computing, and communications that enhance the creation of knowledge models;
  4. Tools for developing and executing detailed mission operations, including plans, schedules, and sequences; and
  5. Sophisticated user interfaces that provide comprehensive awareness for users, developers, and administrators. Nimble™ represents a significant advancement in technology, enabling the rapid implementation and deployment of intelligent, thinking autonomous operations within DoD missions.

With Nimble™, E3S has transcended conventional autonomy methods, ushering in a new era of “Thinking Autonomy.” This groundbreaking platform stands as a testament to our commitment to not just developing algorithms but crafting strategic implementations of autonomy. Our approach is holistic, considering policy requirements, operational procedures, and mission goals in equal measure. To learn about how our collaborative efforts with NASA drove success to “Thinking Autonomy”, visit NASA’s TechPort here.

Together, let’s shape the future of autonomy in defense.