One aspect of UAV design is the control system, and virtual simulations are being used to design drone control systems. Aviationtoday.com reported that this summer, Boeing conducted a digital simulation of an open autonomy architecture to have manned Navy aircraft control MQ-25A Stingray unmanned carrier-based tankers. Boeing virtually demonstrated how a Northrop Grumman [NOC] E-2D Advanced Hawkeye command and control aircraft, Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, and F/A-18E/F Block III Super Hornet fighters could task four virtual autonomous MQ-25s to conduct tanking and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Notably, the demonstration showed how aircraft can use the architecture to task MQ-25s for tanking and ISR missions “without traditional communications with the ship-based ground control station. …In the most recent tests, Boeing also highlighted that Aurora created and demonstrated a software boundary called a prototype platform abstraction layer that separates out the MQ-25’s flight safety and flight critical components from mission software and sensor hardware.” Photos courtesy of Boeing.