Skip to Main Content
This paper focuses on concepts and technologies required to develop a robotic air vehicle (RAV). A vehicle of this type has the capability to be a launch and forget weapon system. The authors are engineers and pilots so they view both the technical approach and piloting issues with equal importance. RAV must have the machine intelligence to make decisions within the mission and battlefield constraints. This requires a piloting expert system and route planner to perform passive terrain following, terrain avoidance, obstacle avoidance, and autonomous navigation based on low cost sensor inputs such as a multifunction FLIR, digital terrain map, and directional reference systems. RAV is a cost effective way to fight in a threat environment where aircrew loss rates would be unacceptable. RAV provides the Air Force a means to expand its combat capabilities.