Commander is the ground based operations console for command and control with extensive access to vehicle and application data. The Commander can be deployed for single operator with a single vehicle or a multi-operator and multi-vehicle style instantiation like a mission control center. Commander is an extensible ground system with all the building blocks you need to quickly develop new applications and effectively operate a drone or UAS fleet.
The Pilot Flight Display, or PFD, is the primary display to provide a remote pilot situational awareness. While the PFD normally displays real time video from the vehicle, the image belows shows Commander flying in an augmented reality mode with video generated from online map sources. This mode is useful when flying a drone that does not have real time video or has insufficient throughput to transmit the video.
All other displays are used for engineering or operations purposes. The images below show Commander displays showing various operational data.
The Commander back-end server has a RESTFUL interface, allowing users to read telemetry and send commands to the drone from their own software or scripts.
Vehicle operators have access to everything they need to operate multiple vehicles safely. Commander provides flight controls via a software interface, 4 axis joystick, and/or standard RC handheld controller. It also comes with preconfigured flight displays and telemetry pages. You can see the status of the over 4000 built in Airliner framework parameters and access to over 350 built in Airliner framework commands. These range from commands that affect sensor polling rates and the format of downlinked telemetry, to flight controller mode changes and autonomy actions.
Commander supports single operator or mission control center (multi-user, multi-vehicle) deployment options, complete with authentication and role based authorization. This means that it’s scalable from a single service provider to an enterprise user managing a fleet of autonomous UASs. For interaction with multiple vehicles Commander is configured with multiple telemetry and commanding streams. To create a control center Commander is installed on a central server with remote access via an internal web server. New users only need a web browser to get connected and be a part of the control center. Displays can be tailored for each console of the control center, with sets owned by both groups and individual users. User management and roles will be further integrated in Phase II.
Commander is foundation is based on a proven open source COTS product called YAMCS (Yet Another Mission Control System). The heart of Commander is a vehicle data server that is based on YAMCS. YAMCS is a suite of tools for spacecraft, payload and ground segment operations preparation, execution and spacecraft assembly, integration and test. YAMCS is maintained by Space Applications Services who develops and operates control centres for spacecraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Unmanned Ground Vehicles as well as Unmanned Sea Vehicles. These control centres are used for Earth observation, human spaceflight, Urban Search and Rescue, Maritime Search and Rescue, as well as operating ROVs on off-shore rigs. YAMCS is built for robust command, control and monitoring of multiple highly autonomous vehicles and is therefore a perfect choice for the future of Commander.
Having YAMCS and Node.js® at the heart of Commander is also key to the Phase II cloud based application engine of the Hangar product. Much of the Commander product internals can be reused by the cloud based application engine for interaction between the cloud applications and the flying vehicle.