AeroVironment announces new ground control system

By Ethan Sterenfeld / July 7, 2021 at 11:36 AM

AeroVironment today announced the release of a new ground control system, Crysalis, that will provide a standardized user experience across a range of the company's small drones, including the Puma, Raven and Wasp.

"Crysalis is an integrated hardware and software-based ground control system (GCS) that provides command and control of compatible AeroVironment unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and their payloads, through an intuitive user experience," AeroVironment stated in a July 7 press release.

The company designed the control system around an intuitive user interface, modularity, standardized controls and interoperability, Robert Sutton, AeroVironment's product manager for ground control systems, said at a virtual July 6 event with reporters.

Crysalis should make ground control of drones as simple as the rest of the technology that people use every day, Sutton said. The control system, which comprises both software and hardware, will be available as an upgrade to existing customers.

The architecture of the system could accommodate artificial intelligence-powered drone swarms in the future, although that capability is not currently available, said Mark Graybill, the company's chief software engineer for unmanned aircraft systems.

Multiple operators can connect to each drone with Crysalis, Graybill said. For example, a commander could temporarily reposition the main camera of a drone, while the operator still controls flight.

Crysalis software is compatible with Windows and Android operating systems, and AeroVironment will release a Linux version, Graybill said. The company will release a software development kit for third parties to link their systems into Crysalis, so they can easily be controlled alongside AeroVironment drones.