Aerovironment’s visual navigation system takes over from GPS

AeroVironment’s Puma is hand launched. (Photo: Lance Cpl. Frank Cordoba/US Marine Corps)

AeroVironment Inc. introduced Puma VNS, a visual navigation system for its Puma 2 AE and Puma 3 AE small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS). The system allows navigation in environments without GPS.

Puma VNS will receive frequent software and hardware updates, providing operators with advanced browsing capabilities, features and functionality. The system will also accommodate future autonomous capabilities.

“Puma VNS gives operators an unprecedented advantage on the battlefield,” said Trace Stevenson, AeroVironment vice president and general product line manager for SUAS. “Operators can now execute missions with more confidence in GPS-challenged environments thanks to the system’s new navigation capabilities.”

VNS uses a suite of downward-looking sensors to collect imagery data and track ground features, and an integrated computer module to process and determine the precise location of an aircraft in flight. The system automatically switches to and from non-GPS navigation mode without operator intervention.

Puma VNS is available as an add-on option for new orders of Puma 3 AE systems and as an upgrade kit for Puma 2 AE and Puma 3 AE systems in service.

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