NPS POTION Software Helps UAV Break Records During Arctic Test Flight

Home / Articles / External / Government

A team of researchers next to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
A team of researchers from Platform Aerospace, the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) recently used a Platform “Vanilla” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to conduct testing of flight-path planning software developed at NPS. The flight tests above the Arctic Circle employed NPS’ “POTION” software, which is intended to optimize the operational efficiency and endurance of manned and unmanned aircraft (U.S. Navy photo).

February 2, 2024 | Originally published by Naval Postgraduate School on January 23, 2024

Following years of dedicated work with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), NPS and Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) partners have successfully concluded the ultimate test of a nine-year continuum of research and development in one of the world’s most challenging environments:  the Arctic Circle.

The collaborative team integrated NPS’ own cutting-edge flight-path planning software known as POTION (Path Optimization) with the Vanilla UAV, developed and operated by Platform Aerospace. This initiative pushed the boundaries of their research, subjecting the Vanilla-POTION combination to rigorous testing in the daunting North Slope of Alaska, making the best of a narrow weather window.

Remarkably, the outcomes of the Arctic flight in September surpassed all expectations, as well as numerous records set by Vanilla in previous missions. This achievement underscores the exceptional capabilities of the Vanilla-POTION combination and represents a milestone in advancing UAV technology for naval operations within the scope of the long-term partnership.

Focus Areas