Costing for the Future: Exploring Cost Estimation With Unmanned Autonomous Systems
U.S. Military Academy West Point United States
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Cost, schedule, and quality may not drive a technology, but they shape the chances of that technology becoming actualized. In recent years, the DoD, one of the leading customers of unmanned systems, has continued to struggle with management of cost and schedule causing programs to deliver products that are good enough, delayed months to years, or even worse, decommissioned. Cost estimation techniques in use today are vast and based on techniques unrelated to emergent systems. One of the most prevalent requirements in the unmanned systems arena is autonomy. The acquisition community will need to adopt new methods for estimating the total cost of ownership of this new breed of systems. Singularly applying traditional software and hardware cost models do not provide this capability because the systems that were used to create and calibrate these models were not Unmanned Autonomous Systems UMASs Valerdi, Merrill, and Maloney, 2013. Autonomy, although not new, will redefine the entire way in which estimates are derived. The goal of this paper is to provide a method that attempts to account for how cost estimating for autonomy is different than current methodologies and to suggest ways it can be addressed through the integration and adaptation of existing cost models.