Introduction To Autonomous Unmanned Systems

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Requirements & Materials

Introduction To Autonomous Unmanned Systems

Course Description

With the rapidly increasing interest and use of unmanned systems in defense, there is also an increasing interest in making these systems more autonomous. Unmanned systems with high levels of autonomy will be able to use on board sensing, communications, and processing to understand their environment, communicate that understanding to other systems and humans, and make decisions -- either alone or collaboratively with other machines to better achieve operational goals as assigned by a human operator. This course will provide you with a broad and general understanding of autonomous systems. You will learn terms and definitions of autonomous systems; architectures for autonomous systems; how autonomous systems plan individually or collectively to achieve objectives; how autonomy is used to adapt to a changing objective; threat or environment; and how to model, simulate and test autonomous unmanned systems. Special emphasis is placed on how to conduct field and flight testing of multiple collaborative autonomous aircraft. Information in this course is controlled technical information (CTI) with military or space application that is subject to controls on the access, use, reproduction, modification, performance, display, release, disclosure, or dissemination. You will require access to controlled unclassified information (CUI) to attend.

Course Content


  • Terms and definitions
  • Challenges in fielding autonomous systems


  • Robotic autonomy architectures
  • Sensing
  • World modeling


  • Optimization and auction-based methods
  • Machine learning
  • Mission planning
  • Communications, messages, waveforms


  • Cyber resilience
  • Test metrics and methods
  • Software in-the-loop, hardware in-the-loop
  • Surrogate testing


  • Test planning
  • Live virtual constructive
  • Flight test approval process
  • Range operations
  • Safety and instrumentation


Requirements & Materials


  • Engineering or science background

Provided (student will receive)

  • Electronic version of course materials
Course Restrictions

This course is restricted to US citizens who are industrial and/or government employees and complete the Access Eligibility Form. Eligibility questions should be directed to 404-407-6661. Attendees must fax the Access Eligibility Form to 404-407-8691 or

Session Details

Who Should Attend

The course is designed for scientists, engineers, and managers who want to gain a better understanding of what autonomous systems are and what they can do; how they are constructed and tested; how they might be used in tactical operations; and what advantages and challenges can be expected with adoption of autonomy in unmanned systems.

Computer science students coding on computers

What You Will Learn

Terms and definitions of autonomous systems

Autonomy architectures, including ontologies, sensing, perception, and world models

Planning systems including optimization and auction-based methods as well as machine learning based methods

Cyber resilience and communications

Modeling, simulation, and testing of autonomous systems, including flight testing

Cyber security professional working in data security center

How You Will Benefit

Gain knowledge of what autonomous systems are and how they are organized and composed.

Understand how unmanned autonomous systems can be used in operationally relevant tactical scenarios.

Learn how to model, simulate, and test autonomous unmanned systems.

Decipher issues and solutions for autonomy communications, cybersecurity, and resilience.

Organize and conduct a flight test program for collaborative unmanned systems.

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    Taught by Experts in the Field

The course schedule was well-structured with a mix of lectures, class discussions, and hands-on exercises led by knowledgeable and engaging instructors.

- Abe Kani


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