Higher return planetary exploration. The utility of a multi-vehicle air/ground system for planetary exploration is evident. The system has very broad reach, with the ability to visit and discover orders of magnitude more area than a rover. Objects of further interest can be explored by the rover, using information gathered by the air vehicles for navigation. In turn, the limited payload and endurance of the aerial exploration vehicle is mitigated by the ability to come back to the ground vehicle, refuel or recharge, download scientific information.
The proposed system will be accepted by the community and implemented across many applications: micro and small UAVs, munitions, autonomous ground vehicles, underground mining operations and rescue, etc. The applications for DoD include urban navigation in GPS-denied scenarios and border patrol and intelligence gathering for navigation inside buildings and caves.