SSC Pacific
Multi-robot Operator Control Unit (MOCU)


MOCU has continued to be adopted by ever more unmanned systems programs and shows no signs of letting up. This will inevitably lead to continued innovation and additional functionality within MOCU. There are plans to interface to additional UAVs and to add features to MOCU to enhance the control and mission planning for UAVs. That may include route verification using DTED and other terrain databases and a STANAG 4586 protocol module. In general there will certainly be additional types of modules developed and additional variants of the existing types. This may include new types of map modules with 3D display capabilities, automatic mission and path planning modules, generic payload and sensor interface modules, etc.

The C2 Link modules will also be extended to interface to additional command and control architectures and will include the integration of more service oriented architecture (SOA) approaches such as XML, DDS and JMS. Two of these efforts are underway now. One is to interface MOCU to the SSC San Diego Composable Forcenet system which is an instantiation of the Navy’s future Forcenet Services Infrastructure (FSI). The other is LCS in which MOCU will interface to the Installation Support Subsystem (ISS) which is a data and services distribution system.

SSC San Diego is also planning on developing a distributed control architecture with MOCU. The concept is that multiple MOCUs would communicate through a common network and would have the ability to pass vehicle, sensor and database information between them as well as control of individual vehicles. There is a growing objective within the unmanned system community to have a common operator controller that will control many if not all of the vehicles in a particular mission. MOCU is currently capable of controlling multiple vehicles but there is a definite limit on the number of vehicles one operator can control or even supervise. This limit is primarily based on the level of autonomy of the vehicles and the payloads and the mission complexity. In an instance where there are more vehicles in operation than one operator can control it would be very useful to be able to start up a second identical MOCU, have it download all of the vehicle and mission data and then have that operator take control of some of the vehicles.

As unmanned systems infiltrate the battlefield, so does a stovepipe OCU for each one to control and monitor them. MOCU provides the capability to control and monitor multiple heterogeneous systems while remaining flexible to handle different missions. MOCU was created and remains modular and scalable to prevent it from becoming a large software program which requires multiple man-years of engineering to make a small change. As technology advances, MOCU will be able to advance by replacing functionality. The development of new functionality need not remain at SSC San Diego, but can be added seamlessly through third-party development.

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Updated: 11/7/2011 10:30 AM EST   Published (1.0)