AFRL and AFIT Autonomy

Technology Interchange Meeting (CLOSED)

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) hosted an Autonomy Technology Interchange Meeting (ATIM) 1-3 September 2015.  ATIM allowed leaders from AFRL and AFIT to engage with Industry and Academia and present information on current research approaches and plans within the autonomy domain and discuss S&T challenges, capability gaps as addressed by the warfighter, and opportunities for potential partnering and collaboration.  All presenters at ATIM were principal investigators on various AFRL and AFIT-led/sponsored autonomy research efforts.

The Air Force and Autonomy

Autonomy is a vast domain, posing critical challenges to the U.S. Air Force with potential adversaries making advancements in technologies that will continue at a dramatic pace.  We focus on growing autonomous system capability, integrated with the human capacity to perform in a high-tempo, complex decision environment, and to enable humans and machines to work together effectively and efficiently to meet mission objectives.

AFRL and AFIT seek to enable the right balance of airman and machine capability to meet Air Force challenges in the future.  We will focus on growing autonomous system capability, integrated with the airman capacity to perform in a high-tempo, complex decision environment, and to optimize humans working together with machines both effectively and efficiently.

Simply stated, the AFRL Autonomy vision is:

Intelligent machines seamlessly integrated with humans…
maximizing mission performance in complex and contested environments

The components of the AFRL vision are described in the four goals featured below.  These buttons link you to video or audio podcasts and presentations where each goal is explained in more detail.

AFRL Autonomy Vision

  • Human Machine Testing
  • Teams of Intelligent Machines
  • Complex and Contested Environments
  • Test & Evaluation Validation & Verification

This Autonomy page is intended to explain our intent to maintain (1) a hybrid mix of virtual science & technology (S&T) discussions and (2) a planned face-to-face event focused on Autonomy.  The goal is to initiate a dialogue with Industry and Academia that is focused generally on Autonomy, and more specifically on what, how and where AFRL and AFIT are focusing research investments.

The Graduate School of Engineering and Management at the Air Force Institute of Technology is focused on providing exceptional defense-focused, research-based, graduate education to Department of Defense employees and affiliates.  With autonomy research ranging from autonomous formation flight control algorithms to hybrid network intrusion detection systems.  AFIT students and faculty conduct autonomy-related research relative to a broad range of Air Force applications and seeks interaction with Industry, Government and Academia to further its academic and research mission.    AFIT compliments’ AFRL’s vision through research and education in autonomy with particular emphasis in auto-routing and optimal path planning, multi-agent cooperative control, mobile adaptive networks, robust navigation solutions (with and without GPS), and human machine interaction and interface design.

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is seeking information in support of planning/acquisition strategy and development of Autonomy for a Loyal Wingman. AFRL is developing plans for a compelling set of demonstrations to show the maturity and potential benefits of autonomous platform behaviors. This effort would push autonomous technology development for a Loyal Wingman concept to an integrated set of demonstrations in the FY20-FY22 timeframe.  Please visit RFI link for more information.  Responses to this RFI are due by 10 September 2015.

Relevant Air Force Institute of Technology Research Centers


This page, and related Autonomy webpages, will be periodically updated with new information through 4 September 2015.  We encourage you to check this page often for updates.  Feel free to ask questions as you review this information or if you need assistance in determining your access to documents relevant to this event.  Questions will be addressed by a team of functional experts that make up the core of our Government Autonomy Technical Interchange team.  You may also sign up for updates via Twitter @DoDinnovation, or provide your email contact information to

Autonomy Q&A

A: There is an increased focus on improving engagement with industry and academia in terms of autonomy. The Marketplace is a forum designed to encourage DoD, Industry and Academia to exchange information more efficiently with a mutual goal of identifying opportunities for collaboration. The ATIM will allow researchers from both AFRL and AFIT to present information on their current Autonomy Programs and validate their research approaches and plans.

Autonomy Systems
Systems which have a set of intelligence-based capabilities that enable responses to situations not pre-programmed or anticipated in the design (i.e., decision-based responses). Autonomous systems have a degree of self-governance and self-directed behavior (with the human’s proxy for decisions). Multimedia An Autonomy Conversation Video Transcript available for download

This new way of exchanging information on the Marketplace is more dynamic, informative and will lead to more promising technology collaborations in the future.  Please email the AF-Autonomy team with your feedback on the site and its content, and to receive further Autonomy updates.

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