This ULB maritime flight test initiative demonstrated the accuracy of the navigation solution, as well as the integration of the navigation solution with the automated flight control system on the Boeing H-6U Unmanned Little Bird. A total of 16 fully autonomous landings and 13 fully autonomous takeoff/departures were performed with the flight crew closely monitoring the controls and the aircraft position when in close proximity to the deck.

Photo Credit: Boeing

The benefits of using SPAN's relative positioning algorithm stems from taking advantage of NovAtel's ALIGN relative positioning solution. This provides a very precise relative solution between two moving platforms. Adding the tightly coupled GNSS/INS solution provided by SPAN provides continuous positioning solution through signal outages, and smooths out short term variations such as constellation changes, in addition to providing attitude.

One of the limiting factors of using the relative positioning system is having a good data link between the master and rover. There must be constant communication between the two systems in order to have continuous relative solution.