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Sample records for micro aerial vehicles

  1. FlyAR: augmented reality supported micro aerial vehicle navigation.

    PubMed

    Zollmann, Stefanie; Hoppe, Christof; Langlotz, Tobias; Reitmayr, Gerhard

    2014-04-01

    Micro aerial vehicles equipped with high-resolution cameras can be used to create aerial reconstructions of an area of interest. In that context automatic flight path planning and autonomous flying is often applied but so far cannot fully replace the human in the loop, supervising the flight on-site to assure that there are no collisions with obstacles. Unfortunately, this workflow yields several issues, such as the need to mentally transfer the aerial vehicle’s position between 2D map positions and the physical environment, and the complicated depth perception of objects flying in the distance. Augmented Reality can address these issues by bringing the flight planning process on-site and visualizing the spatial relationship between the planned or current positions of the vehicle and the physical environment. In this paper, we present Augmented Reality supported navigation and flight planning of micro aerial vehicles by augmenting the user’s view with relevant information for flight planning and live feedback for flight supervision. Furthermore, we introduce additional depth hints supporting the user in understanding the spatial relationship of virtual waypoints in the physical world and investigate the effect of these visualization techniques on the spatial understanding. PMID:24650983

  2. Fixed-Wing Micro Aerial Vehicle for Accurate Corridor Mapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rehak, M.; Skaloud, J.

    2015-08-01

    In this study we present a Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) equipped with precise position and attitude sensors that together with a pre-calibrated camera enables accurate corridor mapping. The design of the platform is based on widely available model components to which we integrate an open-source autopilot, customized mass-market camera and navigation sensors. We adapt the concepts of system calibration from larger mapping platforms to MAV and evaluate them practically for their achievable accuracy. We present case studies for accurate mapping without ground control points: first for a block configuration, later for a narrow corridor. We evaluate the mapping accuracy with respect to checkpoints and digital terrain model. We show that while it is possible to achieve pixel (3-5 cm) mapping accuracy in both cases, precise aerial position control is sufficient for block configuration, the precise position and attitude control is required for corridor mapping.

  3. Toward autonomous avian-inspired grasping for micro aerial vehicles.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Justin; Loianno, Giuseppe; Polin, Joseph; Sreenath, Koushil; Kumar, Vijay

    2014-06-01

    Micro aerial vehicles, particularly quadrotors, have been used in a wide range of applications. However, the literature on aerial manipulation and grasping is limited and the work is based on quasi-static models. In this paper, we draw inspiration from agile, fast-moving birds such as raptors, that are able to capture moving prey on the ground or in water, and develop similar capabilities for quadrotors. We address dynamic grasping, an approach to prehensile grasping in which the dynamics of the robot and its gripper are significant and must be explicitly modeled and controlled for successful execution. Dynamic grasping is relevant for fast pick-and-place operations, transportation and delivery of objects, and placing or retrieving sensors. We show how this capability can be realized (a) using a motion capture system and (b) without external sensors relying only on onboard sensors. In both cases we describe the dynamic model, and trajectory planning and control algorithms. In particular, we present a methodology for flying and grasping a cylindrical object using feedback from a monocular camera and an inertial measurement unit onboard the aerial robot. This is accomplished by mapping the dynamics of the quadrotor to a level virtual image plane, which in turn enables dynamically-feasible trajectory planning for image features in the image space, and a vision-based controller with guaranteed convergence properties. We also present experimental results obtained with a quadrotor equipped with an articulated gripper to illustrate both approaches. PMID:24852023

  4. Aerial networking communication solutions using Micro Air Vehicle (MAV)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balasubramanian, Shyam; de Graaf, Maurits; Hoekstra, Gerard; Corporaal, Henk; Wijtvliet, Mark; Cuadros Linde, Javier

    2014-10-01

    The application of a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) for wireless networking is slowly gaining significance in the field of network robotics. Aerial transport of data requires efficient network protocols along with accurate positional adjustment of the MAV to minimize transaction times. In our proof of concept, we develop an Aerial networking protocol for data transfer using the technology of Disruption Tolerant Networks (DTN), a store-and-forward approach for environments that deals with disrupted connectivity. Our results show that close interaction between networking and flight behavior helps in efficient data exchange. Potential applications are in areas where network infrastructure is minimal or unavailable and distances may be large. For example, forwarding video recordings during search and rescue, agriculture, swarm communication, among several others. A practical implementation and validation, as described in this paper, presents the complex dynamics of wireless environments and poses new challenges that are not addressed in earlier work on this topic. Several tests are evaluated in a practical setup to display the networking MAV behavior during such an operation.

  5. Flexible Wing Base Micro Aerial Vehicles: Assessment of Controllability of Micro Air Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jenkins, David A.; Ifju, Peter G.; Abdulrahim, Mujahid; Olipra, Scott

    2002-01-01

    In the last several years, we have developed unique types of micro air vehicles that utilize flexible structures and extensible covering materials. These MAVs can be operated with maximum dimensions as small as 6 inches and carry reasonable payloads, such as video cameras and transmitters. We recently demonstrated the potential of these vehicles by winning the Fourth International Micro Air Vehicle Competition, held at Ft. Huachucha, Arizona in May 2000. The pilots report that these vehicles have unusually smooth flying characteristics and are relatively easy to fly, both in the standard RC mode and "through the camera" when at greater distances. In comparison, they find that similar sized vehicles with more conventional rigid construction require much more input from the pilot just to maintain control. To make these subjective observations more quantitative, we have devised a system that can conveniently record a complete history of all the RC transmitter stick movements during a flight. Post-flight processing of the stick movement data allows for direct comparisons between different types of MAVs when flown by the same pilot, and also comparisons between pilots. Eventually, practical micro air vehicles will be autonomously controlled, but we feel that the smoothest flying and easiest to fly embodiments will also be the most successful in the long run. Comparisons between several types of micro air vehicles will be presented, along with interpretations of the data.

  6. Vision-Aided Autonomous Landing and Ingress of Micro Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brockers, Roland; Ma, Jeremy C.; Matthies, Larry H.; Bouffard, Patrick

    2012-01-01

    Micro aerial vehicles have limited sensor suites and computational power. For reconnaissance tasks and to conserve energy, these systems need the ability to autonomously land at vantage points or enter buildings (ingress). But for autonomous navigation, information is needed to identify and guide the vehicle to the target. Vision algorithms can provide egomotion estimation and target detection using input from cameras that are easy to include in miniature systems.

  7. Flexible Wing Base Micro Aerial Vehicles: Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) for Surveillance and Remote Sensor Delivery

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ifju, Peter

    2002-01-01

    Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) will be developed for tracking individuals, locating terrorist threats, and delivering remote sensors, for surveillance and chemical/biological agent detection. The tasks are: (1) Develop robust MAV platform capable of carrying sensor payload. (2) Develop fully autonomous capabilities for delivery of sensors to remote and distant locations. The current capabilities and accomplishments are: (1) Operational electric (inaudible) 6-inch MAVs with novel flexible wing, providing superior aerodynamic efficiency and control. (2) Vision-based flight stability and control (from on-board cameras).

  8. Flexible Wing Base Micro Aerial Vehicles: Composite Materials for Micro Air Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ifju, Peter G.; Ettinger, Scott; Jenkins, David; Martinez, Luis

    2002-01-01

    This paper will discuss the development of the University of Florida's Micro Air Vehicle concept. A series of flexible wing based aircraft that possess highly desirable flight characteristics were developed. Since computational methods to accurately model flight at the low Reynolds numbers associated with this scale are still under development, our effort has relied heavily on trial and error. Hence a time efficient method was developed to rapidly produce prototype designs. The airframe and wings are fabricated using a unique process that incorporates carbon fiber composite construction. Prototypes can be fabricated in around five man-hours, allowing many design revisions to be tested in a short period of time. The resulting aircraft are far more durable, yet lighter, than their conventional counterparts. This process allows for thorough testing of each design in order to determine what changes were required on the next prototype. The use of carbon fiber allows for wing flexibility without sacrificing durability. The construction methods developed for this project were the enabling technology that allowed us to implement our designs. The resulting aircraft were the winning entries in the International Micro Air Vehicle Competition for the past two years. Details of the construction method are provided in this paper along with a background on our flexible wing concept.

  9. Stability and Control Properties of an Aeroelastic Fixed Wing Micro Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Waszak, Martin R.; Jenkins, Luther N.; Ifju, Peter

    2001-01-01

    Micro aerial vehicles have been the subject of considerable interest and development over the last several years. The majority of current vehicle concepts rely on rigid fixed wings or rotors. An alternate design based on an aeroelastic membrane wing concept has also been developed that has exhibited desired characteristics in flight test demonstrations and competition. This paper presents results from a wind tunnel investigation that sought to quantify stability and control properties for a family of vehicles using the aeroelastic design. The results indicate that the membrane wing does exhibit potential benefits that could be exploited to enhance the design of future flight vehicles.

  10. Development of Bird-like Micro Aerial Vehicle with Flapping and Feathering Wing Motions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maglasang, Jonathan; Goto, Norihiro; Isogai, Koji

    To investigate the feasibility of a highly efficient flapping system capable of avian maneuvers, such as rapid takeoff, hover and gliding, a full scale bird-like (ornithopter) flapping-wing micro aerial vehicle (MAV) shaped and patterned after a typical pigeon (Columba livia) has been designed and constructed. Both numerical and experimental methods have been used in the development of this vehicle. This flapping-wing micro aerial vehicle utilizes both the flapping and feathering motions of an avian wing by employing a novel flapping-feathering mechanism, which has been synthesized and constructed so as to best describe the properly coordinated flapping and feathering wing motions at phase angle difference of 90° in a horizontal steady level flight condition. This design allows high flapping and feathering amplitudes and is configurable for asymmetric wing motions which are desirable in high-speed flapping flight and maneuvering. The preliminary results indicate its viability as a practical and an efficient flapping-wing micro aerial vehicle.

  11. Simulation and Flight Control of an Aeroelastic Fixed Wing Micro Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Waszak, Martin; Davidson, John B.; Ifju, Peter G.

    2002-01-01

    Micro aerial vehicles have been the subject of continued interest and development over the last several years. The majority of current vehicle concepts rely on rigid fixed wings or rotors. An alternate design based on an aeroelastic membrane wing has also been developed that exhibits desired characteristics in flight test demonstrations, competition, and in prior aerodynamics studies. This paper presents a simulation model and an assessment of flight control characteristics of the vehicle. Linear state space models of the vehicle associated with typical trimmed level flight conditions and which are suitable for control system design are presented as well. The simulation is used as the basis for the design of a measurement based nonlinear dynamic inversion control system and outer loop guidance system. The vehicle/controller system is the subject of ongoing investigations of autonomous and collaborative control schemes. The results indicate that the design represents a good basis for further development of the micro aerial vehicle for autonomous and collaborative controls research.

  12. Applicability of New Approaches of Sensor Orientation to Micro Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rehak, M.; Skaloud, J.

    2016-06-01

    This study highlights the benefits of precise aerial position and attitude control in the context of mapping with Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs). Accurate mapping with MAVs is gaining importance in applications such as corridor mapping, road and pipeline inspections or mapping of large areas with homogeneous surface structure, e.g. forests or agricultural fields. There, accurate aerial control plays a major role in successful terrain reconstruction and artifact-free ortophoto generation. The presented experiments focus on new approaches of aerial control. We confirm practically that the relative aerial position and attitude control can improve accuracy in difficult mapping scenarios. Indeed, the relative orientation method represents an attractive alternative in the context of MAVs for two reasons. First, the procedure is somewhat simplified, e.g. the angular misalignment, so called boresight, between the camera and the inertial measurement unit (IMU) does not have to be determined and, second, the effect of possible systematic errors in satellite positioning (e.g. due to multipath and/or incorrect recovery of differential carrier-phase ambiguities) is mitigated. First, we present a typical mapping project over an agricultural field and second, we perform a corridor road mapping. We evaluate the proposed methods in scenarios with and without automated image observations. We investigate a recently proposed concept where adjustment is performed using image observations limited to ground control and check points, so called fast aerial triangulation (Fast AT). In this context we show that accurate aerial control (absolute or relative) together with a few image observations can deliver accurate results comparable to classical aerial triangulation with thousands of image measurements. This procedure in turns reduces the demands on processing time and the requirements on the existence of surface texture. Finally, we compare the above mentioned procedures with direct sensor

  13. Transition Flight Simulation of Flapping-Wing Micro-Aerial Vehicle Using Aerodynamic Database

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Isogai, Koji; Kawabe, Hiroyasu

    The paper describes how to simulate the flight of a flapping-wing micro-aerial vehicle (MAV). It uses an aerodynamic database generated using three-dimensional Navier-Stokes code. The database is composed of the time mean aerodynamic forces and moments generated at various flapping wing motions in various flight modes. Flight is simulated utilizing the database by interpolation. The procedure is applied to transition flight of a dragonfly-type MAV with two-pairs of resonance-type flapping wings. The present MAV attains the mission of hovering, transition and cruising flights successfully with stable attitude.

  14. Vision-Based Detection and Distance Estimation of Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    PubMed Central

    Gökçe, Fatih; Üçoluk, Göktürk; Şahin, Erol; Kalkan, Sinan

    2015-01-01

    Detection and distance estimation of micro unmanned aerial vehicles (mUAVs) is crucial for (i) the detection of intruder mUAVs in protected environments; (ii) sense and avoid purposes on mUAVs or on other aerial vehicles and (iii) multi-mUAV control scenarios, such as environmental monitoring, surveillance and exploration. In this article, we evaluate vision algorithms as alternatives for detection and distance estimation of mUAVs, since other sensing modalities entail certain limitations on the environment or on the distance. For this purpose, we test Haar-like features, histogram of gradients (HOG) and local binary patterns (LBP) using cascades of boosted classifiers. Cascaded boosted classifiers allow fast processing by performing detection tests at multiple stages, where only candidates passing earlier simple stages are processed at the preceding more complex stages. We also integrate a distance estimation method with our system utilizing geometric cues with support vector regressors. We evaluated each method on indoor and outdoor videos that are collected in a systematic way and also on videos having motion blur. Our experiments show that, using boosted cascaded classifiers with LBP, near real-time detection and distance estimation of mUAVs are possible in about 60 ms indoors (1032×778 resolution) and 150 ms outdoors (1280×720 resolution) per frame, with a detection rate of 0.96 F-score. However, the cascaded classifiers using Haar-like features lead to better distance estimation since they can position the bounding boxes on mUAVs more accurately. On the other hand, our time analysis yields that the cascaded classifiers using HOG train and run faster than the other algorithms. PMID:26393599

  15. Vision-Based Detection and Distance Estimation of Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

    PubMed

    Gökçe, Fatih; Üçoluk, Göktürk; Şahin, Erol; Kalkan, Sinan

    2015-01-01

    Detection and distance estimation of micro unmanned aerial vehicles (mUAVs) is crucial for (i) the detection of intruder mUAVs in protected environments; (ii) sense and avoid purposes on mUAVs or on other aerial vehicles and (iii) multi-mUAV control scenarios, such as environmental monitoring, surveillance and exploration. In this article, we evaluate vision algorithms as alternatives for detection and distance estimation of mUAVs, since other sensing modalities entail certain limitations on the environment or on the distance. For this purpose, we test Haar-like features, histogram of gradients (HOG) and local binary patterns (LBP) using cascades of boosted classifiers. Cascaded boosted classifiers allow fast processing by performing detection tests at multiple stages, where only candidates passing earlier simple stages are processed at the preceding more complex stages. We also integrate a distance estimation method with our system utilizing geometric cues with support vector regressors. We evaluated each method on indoor and outdoor videos that are collected in a systematic way and also on videos having motion blur. Our experiments show that, using boosted cascaded classifiers with LBP, near real-time detection and distance estimation of mUAVs are possible in about 60 ms indoors (1032 × 778 resolution) and 150 ms outdoors (1280 × 720 resolution) per frame, with a detection rate of 0.96 F-score. However, the cascaded classifiers using Haar-like features lead to better distance estimation since they can position the bounding boxes on mUAVs more accurately. On the other hand, our time analysis yields that the cascaded classifiers using HOG train and run faster than the other algorithms. PMID:26393599

  16. Modeling and control for heave dynamics of a flexible wing micro aerial vehicle distributed parameter system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuhn, Lisa M.

    2011-07-01

    In recent years, much research has been motivated by the idea of biologically-inspired flight. It is a conjecture of the United States Air Force that incorporating characteristics of biological flight into air vehicles will significantly improve the maneuverability and performance of modern aircraft. Although there are studies which involve the aerodynamics, structural dynamics, modeling, and control of flexible wing micro aerial vehicles (MAVs), issues of control and vehicular modeling as a whole are largely unexplored. Modeling with such dynamics lends itself to systems of partial differential equations (PDEs) with nonlinearities, and limited control theory is available for such systems. In this work, a multiple component structure consisting of two Euler-Bernoulli beams connected to a rigid mass is used to model the heave dynamics of an aeroelastic wing MAV, which is acted upon by a nonlinear aerodynamic lift force. We seek to employ tools from distributed parameter modeling and linear control theory in an effort to achieve agile flight potential of flexible, morphable wing MAV airframes. Theoretical analysis of the model is conducted, which includes generating solutions to the eigenvalue problem for the system and determining well-posedness and the attainment of a C 0-semigroup for the linearly approximated model. In order to test the model's ability to track to a desired state and to gain insight into optimal morphing trajectories, two control objectives are employed on the model: target state tracking and morphing trajectory over time.

  17. Factors influencing efficiency of laser wireless power transmission system for micro unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Xiaoguang; Hua, Wenshen; Liu, Xun

    2014-12-01

    Micro unmanned aerial vehicle, mostly powered by electricity, plays an important role in many military and civil applications, e.g. military detection, communication relay et al. But restricted endurance ability severely limits its applications. To solve the problem, laser wireless power transmission system is proposed. However, overall efficiency of the system is quite low. This paper describes basic structure of laser wireless power transmission system and its working process. The system consists of two major modules: a high power laser source transmitting energy and a photovoltaic receiver converting optical energy into electricity. Then factors influencing efficiency of the system are analyzed. It suggests that electro-optical efficiency of laser, atmospheric impact on laser beam and photo-electric efficiency of photovoltaic receiver play significant role in overall efficiency of the system. Atmospheric impact on laser beam mostly derived from refraction, absorption, scattering and turbulence effects, leads to drop in energy and quality of laser beam. Efficiency of photovoltaic receiver is affected by photovoltaic materials. In addition, matching degree between intensity distribution of laser beam and layout of photovoltaic receiver also obviously influence efficiency of photovoltaic receiver. Experiment results suggest that under non-uniform laser beam illumination, efficiency of photovoltaic receiver mostly depends on layout of photovoltaic receiver. Through optimizing the layout of photovoltaic receiver based on intensity distribution of laser beam, output power is significantly improved. The analysis may help to take corresponding measures to alleviate negative effects of these factors and improve performance of laser wireless power transmission system.

  18. Internal air flow analysis of a bladeless micro aerial vehicle hemisphere body using computational fluid dynamic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Othman, M. N. K.; Zuradzman, M. Razlan; Hazry, D.; Khairunizam, Wan; Shahriman, A. B.; Yaacob, S.; Ahmed, S. Faiz; Hussain, Abadalsalam T.

    2014-12-01

    This paper explain the analysis of internal air flow velocity of a bladeless vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) hemisphere body. In mechanical design, before produce a prototype model, several analyses should be done to ensure the product's effectiveness and efficiency. There are two types of analysis method can be done in mechanical design; mathematical modeling and computational fluid dynamic. In this analysis, I used computational fluid dynamic (CFD) by using SolidWorks Flow Simulation software. The idea came through to overcome the problem of ordinary quadrotor UAV which has larger size due to using four rotors and the propellers are exposed to environment. The bladeless MAV body is designed to protect all electronic parts, which means it can be used in rainy condition. It also has been made to increase the thrust produced by the ducted propeller compare to exposed propeller. From the analysis result, the air flow velocity at the ducted area increased to twice the inlet air. This means that the duct contribute to the increasing of air velocity.

  19. Aerodynamic Analysis of Flexible Flapping Wing Micro Aerial Vehicle Using Quasi-Steady Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vijayakumar, Kolandapaiyan; Chandrasekhar, Uttam; Chandrashekhar, Nagaraj

    2016-04-01

    In recent times flexible flapping-wing aerodynamics has generated a great deal of interest and is the topic of contemporary research because of its potential application in micro aerial vehicles (MAVs). The prominent features of MAVs include low Reynolds Number, changing the camber of flapping wings, development of related mechanisms, study of the suitability airfoil shape selection and other parameters. Generally, low Reynolds Number is similar to that of an insect or a bird (103-105). The primary goal of this project work is to perform CFD analysis on flexible flapping wing MAVs in order to estimate the lift and drag by using engineering methods such as quasi-steady approach. From the wind tunnel data, 3-D deformation is obtained. For CFD analysis, two types of quasi-steady methods are considered. The first method is to slice the wing section chord-wise and span wise at multiple regions, frame by frame, and obtain the 2-D corrugated camber section for each frame. This 2-D corrugated camber is analysed using CFD techniques and all the individual 2-D corrugated camber results are summed up frame by frame, to obtain the total lift and drag for one wing beat. The second method is to consider the 3D wing in entirety and perform the CFD analysis to obtain the lift and drag for five wing beat.

  20. Design and Analysis of a Single-Camera Omnistereo Sensor for Quadrotor Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs).

    PubMed

    Jaramillo, Carlos; Valenti, Roberto G; Guo, Ling; Xiao, Jizhong

    2016-01-01

    We describe the design and 3D sensing performance of an omnidirectional stereo (omnistereo) vision system applied to Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs). The proposed omnistereo sensor employs a monocular camera that is co-axially aligned with a pair of hyperboloidal mirrors (a vertically-folded catadioptric configuration). We show that this arrangement provides a compact solution for omnidirectional 3D perception while mounted on top of propeller-based MAVs (not capable of large payloads). The theoretical single viewpoint (SVP) constraint helps us derive analytical solutions for the sensor's projective geometry and generate SVP-compliant panoramic images to compute 3D information from stereo correspondences (in a truly synchronous fashion). We perform an extensive analysis on various system characteristics such as its size, catadioptric spatial resolution, field-of-view. In addition, we pose a probabilistic model for the uncertainty estimation of 3D information from triangulation of back-projected rays. We validate the projection error of the design using both synthetic and real-life images against ground-truth data. Qualitatively, we show 3D point clouds (dense and sparse) resulting out of a single image captured from a real-life experiment. We expect the reproducibility of our sensor as its model parameters can be optimized to satisfy other catadioptric-based omnistereo vision under different circumstances. PMID:26861351

  1. Internal air flow analysis of a bladeless micro aerial vehicle hemisphere body using computational fluid dynamic

    SciTech Connect

    Othman, M. N. K. E-mail: zuradzman@unimap.edu.my E-mail: khairunizam@unimap.edu.my E-mail: s.yaacob@unimap.edu.my E-mail: abadal@unimap.edu.my; Zuradzman, M. Razlan E-mail: zuradzman@unimap.edu.my E-mail: khairunizam@unimap.edu.my E-mail: s.yaacob@unimap.edu.my E-mail: abadal@unimap.edu.my; Hazry, D. E-mail: zuradzman@unimap.edu.my E-mail: khairunizam@unimap.edu.my E-mail: s.yaacob@unimap.edu.my E-mail: abadal@unimap.edu.my; Khairunizam, Wan E-mail: zuradzman@unimap.edu.my E-mail: khairunizam@unimap.edu.my E-mail: s.yaacob@unimap.edu.my E-mail: abadal@unimap.edu.my; Shahriman, A. B. E-mail: zuradzman@unimap.edu.my E-mail: khairunizam@unimap.edu.my E-mail: s.yaacob@unimap.edu.my E-mail: abadal@unimap.edu.my; Yaacob, S. E-mail: zuradzman@unimap.edu.my E-mail: khairunizam@unimap.edu.my E-mail: s.yaacob@unimap.edu.my E-mail: abadal@unimap.edu.my; Ahmed, S. Faiz E-mail: zuradzman@unimap.edu.my E-mail: khairunizam@unimap.edu.my E-mail: s.yaacob@unimap.edu.my E-mail: abadal@unimap.edu.my; and others

    2014-12-04

    This paper explain the analysis of internal air flow velocity of a bladeless vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) hemisphere body. In mechanical design, before produce a prototype model, several analyses should be done to ensure the product's effectiveness and efficiency. There are two types of analysis method can be done in mechanical design; mathematical modeling and computational fluid dynamic. In this analysis, I used computational fluid dynamic (CFD) by using SolidWorks Flow Simulation software. The idea came through to overcome the problem of ordinary quadrotor UAV which has larger size due to using four rotors and the propellers are exposed to environment. The bladeless MAV body is designed to protect all electronic parts, which means it can be used in rainy condition. It also has been made to increase the thrust produced by the ducted propeller compare to exposed propeller. From the analysis result, the air flow velocity at the ducted area increased to twice the inlet air. This means that the duct contribute to the increasing of air velocity.

  2. A lifting surface approximation for roll stall of Micro Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shields, Matt; Mohseni, Kamran

    2012-11-01

    The lateral stability of Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) has been known to be adversely affected by the low aspect ratio (LAR) nature of these aircraft. While this has typically been attributed to the small moments of inertia about the plane of symmetry, recent experimental results display the development of a significant roll stability derivative (Cl , β) for flat plate (0% camber) wings. The roll moment can be attributed to the asymmetric development of the tip vortices of a yawed wing and the resulting deviation from the wing loading at zero sideslip. Furthermore, results indicate that a harmonic yaw oscillation at increasing angular velocities results in a delay effect as the formation of the tip vortex is affected by the rotation of the wing; that is, the roll moment does not reach its steady value at a given yaw angle until after the model yaws past the angle. A model based on modified lifting surface theory is developed to determine the influence of the induced velocities of the skewed tip vortices on the lateral loading of both the static and oscillating wing; experimentally determined parameters are used to compensate for the separated flow experienced by MAV wings and not considered in conventional lifting surface methods.

  3. Flexible Wing Base Micro Aerial Vehicles: Towards Flight Autonomy: Vision-Based Horizon Detection for Micro Air Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nechyba, Michael C.; Ettinger, Scott M.; Ifju, Peter G.; Wazak, Martin

    2002-01-01

    Recently substantial progress has been made towards design building and testifying remotely piloted Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). This progress in overcoming the aerodynamic obstacles to flight at very small scales has, unfortunately, not been matched by similar progress in autonomous MAV flight. Thus, we propose a robust, vision-based horizon detection algorithm as the first step towards autonomous MAVs. In this paper, we first motivate the use of computer vision for the horizon detection task by examining the flight of birds (biological MAVs) and considering other practical factors. We then describe our vision-based horizon detection algorithm, which has been demonstrated at 30 Hz with over 99.9% correct horizon identification, over terrain that includes roads, buildings large and small, meadows, wooded areas, and a lake. We conclude with some sample horizon detection results and preview a companion paper, where the work discussed here forms the core of a complete autonomous flight stability system.

  4. Flexible Wing Base Micro Aerial Vehicles: Vision-Guided Flight Stability and Autonomy for Micro Air Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ettinger, Scott M.; Nechyba, Michael C.; Ifju, Peter G.; Wazak, Martin

    2002-01-01

    Substantial progress has been made recently towards design building and test-flying remotely piloted Micro Air Vehicle's (MAVs). We seek to complement this progress in overcoming the aerodynamic obstacles to.flight at very small scales with a vision stability and autonomy system. The developed system based on a robust horizon detection algorithm which we discuss in greater detail in a companion paper. In this paper, we first motivate the use of computer vision for MAV autonomy arguing that given current sensor technology, vision may he the only practical approach to the problem. We then briefly review our statistical vision-based horizon detection algorithm, which has been demonstrated at 30Hz with over 99.9% correct horizon identification. Next we develop robust schemes for the detection of extreme MAV attitudes, where no horizon is visible, and for the detection of horizon estimation errors, due to external factors such as video transmission noise. Finally, we discuss our feed-back controller for self-stabilized flight, and report results on vision autonomous flights of duration exceeding ten minutes.

  5. Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to capture micro-topography of Antarctic moss beds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lucieer, Arko; Turner, Darren; King, Diana H.; Robinson, Sharon A.

    2014-04-01

    Mosses, the dominant flora of East Antarctica, show evidence of drying in recent decades, likely due to the regional effects of climate change. Given the relatively small area that such moss beds occupy, new tools are needed to map and monitor these fragile ecosystems in sufficient detail. In this study, we collected low altitude aerial photography with a small multi-rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Structure from Motion (SfM) computer vision techniques were applied to derive ultra-high resolution 3D models from multi-view aerial photography. A 2 cm digital surface model (DSM) and 1 cm orthophoto mosaic were derived from the 3D model and aerial photographs, respectively. The geometric accuracy of the orthophoto and DSM was 4 cm. A weighted contributing upstream area was derived with the D-infinity algorithm, based on the DSM and a snow cover map derived from the orthophoto. The contributing upstream area was used as a proxy for water availability from snowmelt, one of the key environmental drivers of moss health. A Monte Carlo simulation with 300 realisations was implemented to model the impact of error in the DSM on runoff direction. Significant correlations were found between these simulated water availability values and field measurements of moss health and water content. In the future ultra-high spatial resolution DSMs acquired with a UAV could thus be used to determine the impact of changing snow cover on the health and spatial distribution of polar vegetation non-destructively.

  6. Piezo-stack vortex generators for boundary layer control of a delta wing micro-aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mystkowski, Arkadiusz

    2013-11-01

    This paper presents an idea for the control of flow separation over solid surfaces by piezo-stack vortex generators. The vortex generators are small vibrating plates attached to the delta wing surface. A model of the micro-aerial vehicle (MAV) controlled by vortex piezo-generators is presented. The vortex generators are applied to produce the appropriate aerodynamical forces and moments controlling the flight of the aircraft. The efficiency of the vortex generators is proved by the wind tunnel test results. The oscillatory added lift and drag coefficients versus angle of attack are presented. The optimal vortex generator amplitude and frequency are investigated. Boundary layer control (BLC) for delta wing micro-aircraft increases the manoeuvrability and performance of the MAV.

  7. BATMAV - A Bio-Inspired Micro-Aerial Vehicle for Flapping Flight

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bunget, Gheorghe

    The main objective of the BATMAV project is the development of a biologically-inspired Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) with flexible and foldable wings for flapping flight. While flapping flight in MAV has been previously studied and a number of models were realized they usually had unfoldable wings actuated with DC motors and mechanical transmission to achieve flapping motion. This approach limits the system to a rather small number of degrees of freedom with little flexibility and introduces an additional disadvantage of a heavy flight platform. The BATMAV project aims at the development of a flight platform that features bat-inspired wings with smart materials-based flexible joints and artificial muscles, which has the potential to closely mimic the kinematics of the real mammalian flyer. The bat-like flight platform was selected after an extensive analysis of morphological and aerodynamic flight parameters of small birds, bats and large insects characterized by a superior maneuverability and wind gust rejection. Morphological and aerodynamic parameters were collected from existing literature and compared concluding that bat wing present a suitable platform that can be actuated efficiently using artificial muscles. Due to their wing camber variation, the bat species can operate effectively at a large range of speeds and exhibit a remarkably maneuverable and agile flight. Although numerous studies were recently investigated the flapping flight, flexible and foldable wings that reproduce the natural intricate and efficient flapping motion were not designed yet. A comprehensive analysis of flight styles in bats based on the data collected by Norberg (Norberg, 1976) and the engineering theory of robotic manipulators resulted in a 2 and 3-DOF models which managed to mimic the wingbeat cycle of the natural flyer. The flexible joints of the 2 and 2-DOF models were replicated using smart materials like superelastic Shape Memory Alloys (SMA). The results of these kinematic

  8. Micro-aerial vehicle type wall-climbing robot mechanism for structural health monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shin, Jae-Uk; Kim, Donghoon; Kim, Jong-Heon; Myung, Hyun

    2013-04-01

    Currently, the maintenance or inspection of large structures is labor-intensive, so it has a problem of the large cost due to the staffing professionals and the risk for hard to reach areas. To solve the problem, the needs of wall-climbing robot are emerged. Infra-based wall-climbing robots to maintain an outer wall of building have high payload and safety. However, the infrastructure for the robot must be equipped on the target structure and the infrastructure isn't preferred by the architects since it can injure the exterior of the structure. These are the reasons of why the infra-based wall-climbing robot is avoided. In case of the non-infra-based wall-climbing robot, it is researched to overcome the aforementioned problems. However, most of the technologies are in the laboratory level since the payload, safety and maneuverability are not satisfactory. For this reason, aerial vehicle type wall-climbing robot is researched. It is a flying possible wallclimbing robot based on a quadrotor. It is a famous aerial vehicle robot using four rotors to make a thrust for flying. This wall-climbing robot can stick to a vertical wall using the thrust. After sticking to the wall, it can move with four wheels installed on the robot. As a result, it has high maneuverability and safety since it can restore the position to the wall even if it is detached from the wall by unexpected disturbance while climbing the wall. The feasibility of the main concept was verified through simulations and experiments using a prototype.

  9. Point cloud generation from aerial image data acquired by a quadrocopter type micro unmanned aerial vehicle and a digital still camera.

    PubMed

    Rosnell, Tomi; Honkavaara, Eija

    2012-01-01

    The objective of this investigation was to develop and investigate methods for point cloud generation by image matching using aerial image data collected by quadrocopter type micro unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imaging systems. Automatic generation of high-quality, dense point clouds from digital images by image matching is a recent, cutting-edge step forward in digital photogrammetric technology. The major components of the system for point cloud generation are a UAV imaging system, an image data collection process using high image overlaps, and post-processing with image orientation and point cloud generation. Two post-processing approaches were developed: one of the methods is based on Bae Systems' SOCET SET classical commercial photogrammetric software and another is built using Microsoft(®)'s Photosynth™ service available in the Internet. Empirical testing was carried out in two test areas. Photosynth processing showed that it is possible to orient the images and generate point clouds fully automatically without any a priori orientation information or interactive work. The photogrammetric processing line provided dense and accurate point clouds that followed the theoretical principles of photogrammetry, but also some artifacts were detected. The point clouds from the Photosynth processing were sparser and noisier, which is to a large extent due to the fact that the method is not optimized for dense point cloud generation. Careful photogrammetric processing with self-calibration is required to achieve the highest accuracy. Our results demonstrate the high performance potential of the approach and that with rigorous processing it is possible to reach results that are consistent with theory. We also point out several further research topics. Based on theoretical and empirical results, we give recommendations for properties of imaging sensor, data collection and processing of UAV image data to ensure accurate point cloud generation. PMID:22368479

  10. Point Cloud Generation from Aerial Image Data Acquired by a Quadrocopter Type Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and a Digital Still Camera

    PubMed Central

    Rosnell, Tomi; Honkavaara, Eija

    2012-01-01

    The objective of this investigation was to develop and investigate methods for point cloud generation by image matching using aerial image data collected by quadrocopter type micro unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imaging systems. Automatic generation of high-quality, dense point clouds from digital images by image matching is a recent, cutting-edge step forward in digital photogrammetric technology. The major components of the system for point cloud generation are a UAV imaging system, an image data collection process using high image overlaps, and post-processing with image orientation and point cloud generation. Two post-processing approaches were developed: one of the methods is based on Bae Systems’ SOCET SET classical commercial photogrammetric software and another is built using Microsoft®’s Photosynth™ service available in the Internet. Empirical testing was carried out in two test areas. Photosynth processing showed that it is possible to orient the images and generate point clouds fully automatically without any a priori orientation information or interactive work. The photogrammetric processing line provided dense and accurate point clouds that followed the theoretical principles of photogrammetry, but also some artifacts were detected. The point clouds from the Photosynth processing were sparser and noisier, which is to a large extent due to the fact that the method is not optimized for dense point cloud generation. Careful photogrammetric processing with self-calibration is required to achieve the highest accuracy. Our results demonstrate the high performance potential of the approach and that with rigorous processing it is possible to reach results that are consistent with theory. We also point out several further research topics. Based on theoretical and empirical results, we give recommendations for properties of imaging sensor, data collection and processing of UAV image data to ensure accurate point cloud generation. PMID:22368479

  11. Design and Analysis of a Single-Camera Omnistereo Sensor for Quadrotor Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) †

    PubMed Central

    Jaramillo, Carlos; Valenti, Roberto G.; Guo, Ling; Xiao, Jizhong

    2016-01-01

    We describe the design and 3D sensing performance of an omnidirectional stereo (omnistereo) vision system applied to Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs). The proposed omnistereo sensor employs a monocular camera that is co-axially aligned with a pair of hyperboloidal mirrors (a vertically-folded catadioptric configuration). We show that this arrangement provides a compact solution for omnidirectional 3D perception while mounted on top of propeller-based MAVs (not capable of large payloads). The theoretical single viewpoint (SVP) constraint helps us derive analytical solutions for the sensor’s projective geometry and generate SVP-compliant panoramic images to compute 3D information from stereo correspondences (in a truly synchronous fashion). We perform an extensive analysis on various system characteristics such as its size, catadioptric spatial resolution, field-of-view. In addition, we pose a probabilistic model for the uncertainty estimation of 3D information from triangulation of back-projected rays. We validate the projection error of the design using both synthetic and real-life images against ground-truth data. Qualitatively, we show 3D point clouds (dense and sparse) resulting out of a single image captured from a real-life experiment. We expect the reproducibility of our sensor as its model parameters can be optimized to satisfy other catadioptric-based omnistereo vision under different circumstances. PMID:26861351

  12. MicroProbe Small Unmanned Aerial System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bland, Geoffrey; Miles, Ted

    2012-01-01

    The MicroProbe unmanned aerial system (UAS) concept incorporates twin electric motors mounted on the vehicle wing, thus enabling an aerodynamically and environmentally clean nose area for atmospheric sensors. A payload bay is also incorporated in the fuselage to accommodate remote sensing instruments. A key feature of this concept is lightweight construction combined with low flying speeds to minimize kinetic energy and associated hazards, as well as maximizing spatial resolution. This type of aerial platform is needed for Earth science research and environmental monitoring. There were no vehicles of this type known to exist previously.

  13. A study of large scale gust generation in a small scale atmospheric wind tunnel with applications to Micro Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roadman, Jason Markos

    Modern technology operating in the atmospheric boundary layer can always benefit from more accurate wind tunnel testing. While scaled atmospheric boundary layer tunnels have been well developed, tunnels replicating portions of the atmospheric boundary layer turbulence at full scale are a comparatively new concept. Testing at full-scale Reynolds numbers with full-scale turbulence in an "atmospheric wind tunnel" is sought. Many programs could utilize such a tool including Micro Aerial Vehicle(MAV) development, the wind energy industry, fuel efficient vehicle design, and the study of bird and insect flight, to name just a few. The small scale of MAVs provide the somewhat unique capability of full scale Reynolds number testing in a wind tunnel. However, that same small scale creates interactions under real world flight conditions, atmospheric gusts for example, that lead to a need for testing under more complex flows than the standard uniform flow found in most wind tunnels. It is for these reasons that MAVs are used as the initial testing application for the atmospheric gust tunnel. An analytical model for both discrete gusts and a continuous spectrum of gusts is examined. Then, methods for generating gusts in agreement with that model are investigated. Previously used methods are reviewed and a gust generation apparatus is designed. Expected turbulence and gust characteristics of this apparatus are compared with atmospheric data. The construction of an active "gust generator" for a new atmospheric tunnel is reviewed and the turbulence it generates is measured utilizing single and cross hot wires. Results from this grid are compared to atmospheric turbulence and it is shown that various gust strengths can be produced corresponding to weather ranging from calm to quite gusty. An initial test is performed in the atmospheric wind tunnel whereby the effects of various turbulence conditions on transition and separation on the upper surface of a MAV wing is investigated

  14. Experimental aerodynamic and static elastic deformation characterization of low aspect ratio flexible fixed wings applied to micro aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Albertani, Roberto

    The concept of micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) is for a small, inexpensive and sometimes expendable platform, flying by remote pilot, in the field or autonomously. Because of the requirement to be flown either by almost inexperienced pilots or by autonomous control, they need to have very reliable and benevolent flying characteristics drive the design guidelines. A class of vehicles designed by the University of Florida adopts a flexible-wing concept, featuring a carbon fiber skeleton and a thin extensible latex membrane skin. Another typical feature of MAVs is a wingspan to propeller diameter ratio of two or less, generating a substantial influence on the vehicle aerodynamics. The main objectives of this research are to elucidate and document the static elastic flow-structure interactions in terms of measurements of the aerodynamic coefficients and wings' deformation as well as to substantiate the proposed inferences regarding the influence of the wings' structural flexibility on their performance; furthermore the research will provide experimental data to support the validation of CFD and FEA numerical models. A unique facility was developed at the University of Florida to implement a combination of a low speed wind tunnel and a visual image correlation system. The models tested in the wind tunnel were fabricated at the University MAV lab and consisted of a series of ten models with an identical geometry but differing in levels of structural flexibility and deformation characteristics. Results in terms of full-field displacements and aerodynamic coefficients from wind tunnel tests for various wind velocities and angles of attack are presented to demonstrate the deformation of the wing under steady aerodynamic load. The steady state effects of the propeller slipstream on the flexible wing's shape and its performance are also investigated. Analytical models of the aerodynamic and propulsion characteristics are proposed based on a multi dimensional linear regression

  15. AERIAL OF VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING & SURROUNDING AREA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1977-01-01

    AERIAL OF VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING & SURROUNDING AREA KSC-377C-0082.41 116-KSC-377C-82.41, P-15877, ARCHIVE-04151 Aerial view - Shuttle construction progress - VAB and Orbiter Processing Facilities - direction northwest.

  16. A Study of the Effects of Large Scale Gust Generation in a Small Scale Atmospheric Wind Tunnel: Application to Micro Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roadman, Jason; Mohseni, Kamran

    2009-11-01

    Modern technology operating in the atmospheric boundary layer could benefit from more accurate wind tunnel testing. While scaled atmospheric boundary layer tunnels have been well developed, tunnels replicating portions of the turbulence of the atmospheric boundary layer at full scale are a comparatively new concept. Testing at full-scale Reynolds numbers with full-scale turbulence in an ``atmospheric wind tunnel'' is sought. Many programs could utilize such a tool including that of Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) and other unmanned aircraft, the wind energy industry, fuel efficient vehicles, and the study of bird and insect fight. The construction of an active ``gust generator'' for a new atmospheric tunnel is reviewed and the turbulence it generates is measured utilizing single and cross hot wires. Results from this grid are compared to atmospheric turbulence and it is shown that various gust strengths can be produced corresponding to days ranging from calm to quite gusty. An initial test is performed in the atmospheric wind tunnel whereby the effects of various turbulence conditions on transition and separation on the upper surface of a MAV wing is investigated using oil flow visualization.

  17. A Primer on Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Design.

    PubMed

    Coppejans, Hugo H G; Myburgh, Herman C

    2015-01-01

    There is a large amount of research currently being done on autonomous micro-aerial vehicles (MAV), such as quadrotor helicopters or quadcopters. The ability to create a working autonomous MAV depends mainly on integrating a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) solution with the rest of the system. This paper provides an introduction for creating an autonomous MAV for enclosed environments, aimed at students and professionals alike. The standard autonomous system and MAV automation are discussed, while we focus on the core concepts of SLAM systems and trajectory planning algorithms. The advantages and disadvantages of using remote processing are evaluated, and recommendations are made regarding the viability of on-board processing. Recommendations are made regarding best practices to serve as a guideline for aspirant MAV designers. PMID:26633410

  18. A Primer on Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Design

    PubMed Central

    Coppejans, Hugo H. G.; Myburgh, Herman C.

    2015-01-01

    There is a large amount of research currently being done on autonomous micro-aerial vehicles (MAV), such as quadrotor helicopters or quadcopters. The ability to create a working autonomous MAV depends mainly on integrating a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) solution with the rest of the system. This paper provides an introduction for creating an autonomous MAV for enclosed environments, aimed at students and professionals alike. The standard autonomous system and MAV automation are discussed, while we focus on the core concepts of SLAM systems and trajectory planning algorithms. The advantages and disadvantages of using remote processing are evaluated, and recommendations are made regarding the viability of on-board processing. Recommendations are made regarding best practices to serve as a guideline for aspirant MAV designers. PMID:26633410

  19. Rangeland monitoring with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have great potential for rangeland management applications, such as monitoring vegetation change, developing grazing strategies, determining rangeland health, and assessing remediation treatment effectiveness. UAVs have several advantages: they can be deployed quickly...

  20. Photogrammetric mapping using unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graça, N.; Mitishita, E.; Gonçalves, J.

    2014-11-01

    Nowadays Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology has attracted attention for aerial photogrammetric mapping. The low cost and the feasibility to automatic flight along commanded waypoints can be considered as the main advantages of this technology in photogrammetric applications. Using GNSS/INS technologies the images are taken at the planned position of the exposure station and the exterior orientation parameters (position Xo, Yo, Zo and attitude ω, φ, χ) of images can be direct determined. However, common UAVs (off-the-shelf) do not replace the traditional aircraft platform. Overall, the main shortcomings are related to: difficulties to obtain the authorization to perform the flight in urban and rural areas, platform stability, safety flight, stability of the image block configuration, high number of the images and inaccuracies of the direct determination of the exterior orientation parameters of the images. In this paper are shown the obtained results from the project photogrammetric mapping using aerial images from the SIMEPAR UAV system. The PIPER J3 UAV Hydro aircraft was used. It has a micro pilot MP2128g. The system is fully integrated with 3-axis gyros/accelerometers, GPS, pressure altimeter, pressure airspeed sensors. A Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300 was calibrated and used to get the image block. The flight height was close to 400 m, resulting GSD near to 0.10 m. The state of the art of the used technology, methodologies and the obtained results are shown and discussed. Finally advantages/shortcomings found in the study and main conclusions are presented

  1. Draper Laboratory small autonomous aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeBitetto, Paul A.; Johnson, Eric N.; Bosse, Michael C.; Trott, Christian A.

    1997-06-01

    The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. and students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University have cooperated to develop an autonomous aerial vehicle that won the 1996 International Aerial Robotics Competition. This paper describes the approach, system architecture and subsystem designs for the entry. This entry represents a combination of many technology areas: navigation, guidance, control, vision processing, human factors, packaging, power, real-time software, and others. The aerial vehicle, an autonomous helicopter, performs navigation and control functions using multiple sensors: differential GPS, inertial measurement unit, sonar altimeter, and a flux compass. The aerial transmits video imagery to the ground. A ground based vision processor converts the image data into target position and classification estimates. The system was designed, built, and flown in less than one year and has provided many lessons about autonomous vehicle systems, several of which are discussed. In an appendix, our current research in augmenting the navigation system with vision- based estimates is presented.

  2. Adapting unmanned aerial vehicles for turbulence measurement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Witte, Brandon; Helvey, Jacob; Mullen, Jon; Thamann, Michael; Bailey, Sean

    2015-11-01

    We describe the approach of using highly instrumented and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to spatially interrogate the atmospheric boundary layer's turbulent flow structure. This approach introduces new capabilities not available in contemporary micro-meteorological measurement techniques such as instrumented towers, balloons, and manned aircraft. A key advantage in utilizing UAVs as an atmospheric turbulence research tool is that it reduces the reliance on assumptions regarding temporal evolution of the turbulence inherent within Taylor's frozen flow hypothesis by facilitating the ability to spatially sample the flow field over a wide range of spatial scales. In addition, UAVs offer the ability to measure in a wide range of boundary conditions and distance from the earth's surface, the ability to gather many boundary layer thicknesses of data during brief periods of statistical quasi-stationarity, and the ability to acquire data where and when it is needed. We describe recent progress made in manufacturing purpose-built airframes and adapting pre-fabricated airframes for these measurements by integrating sensors into those airframes and developing data analysis techniques to isolate the atmospheric turbulence from the measured velocity signal. This research is supported by NSF Award CBET-1351411.

  3. Ultralight photovoltaic modules for unmanned aerial vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Nowlan, M.J.; Maglitta, J.C.; Darkazalli, G.; Lamp, T.

    1997-12-31

    New lightweight photovoltaic modules are being developed for powering high altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Modified low-cost terrestrial solar cell and module technologies are being applied to minimize vehicle cost. New processes were developed for assembling thin solar cells, encapsulant films, and cover films. An innovative by-pass diode mounting approach that uses a solar cell as a heat spreader was devised and tested. Materials and processes will be evaluated through accelerated environmental testing.

  4. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and GPS Receivers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gary, B.

    1995-01-01

    It is proposed that a small fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) be used over a period of years to monitor the rise of pressure surfaces caused by the hypothesized rise in average temperature of the troposphere due to global warming. Global Positioning Satellite System (GPS) receivers would be used for the precise tracking required.

  5. Radiation surveillance using an unmanned aerial vehicle.

    PubMed

    Pöllänen, Roy; Toivonen, Harri; Peräjärvi, Kari; Karhunen, Tero; Ilander, Tarja; Lehtinen, Jukka; Rintala, Kimmo; Katajainen, Tuure; Niemelä, Jarkko; Juusela, Marko

    2009-02-01

    Radiation surveillance equipment was mounted in a small unmanned aerial vehicle. The equipment consists of a commercial CsI detector for count rate measurement and a specially designed sampling unit for airborne radioactive particles. Field and flight tests were performed for the CsI detector in the area where (137)Cs fallout from the Chernobyl accident is 23-45 kBq m(-2). A 3-GBq (137)Cs point source could be detected at the altitude of 50 m using a flight speed of 70 km h(-1) and data acquisition interval of 1s. Respective response for (192)Ir point source is 1 GBq. During the flight, the detector reacts fast to ambient external dose rate rise of 0.1 microSv h(-1), which gives for the activity concentration of (131)I less than 1 kB qm(-3). Operation of the sampler equipped with different type of filters was investigated using wind-tunnel experiments and field tests with the aid of radon progeny. Air flow rate through the sampler is 0.2-0.7 m(3)h(-1) at a flight speed of 70 km h(-1) depending on the filter type in question. The tests showed that the sampler is able to collect airborne radioactive particles. Minimum detectable concentration for transuranium nuclides, such as (239)Pu, is of the order of 0.2 Bq m(-3) or less when alpha spectrometry with no radiochemical sample processing is used for activity determination immediately after the flight. When a gamma-ray spectrometer is used, minimum detectable concentrations for several fission products such as (137)Cs and (131)I are of the order of 1 Bq m(-3). PMID:19046635

  6. Moving Obstacle Avoidance for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Yucong

    There has been a vast increase in applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in civilian domains. To operate in the civilian airspace, a UAV must be able to sense and avoid both static and moving obstacles for flight safety. While indoor and low-altitude environments are mainly occupied by static obstacles, risks in space of higher altitude primarily come from moving obstacles such as other aircraft or flying vehicles in the airspace. Therefore, the ability to avoid moving obstacles becomes a necessity for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Towards enabling a UAV to autonomously sense and avoid moving obstacles, this thesis makes the following contributions. Initially, an image-based reactive motion planner is developed for a quadrotor to avoid a fast approaching obstacle. Furthermore, A Dubin's curve based geometry method is developed as a global path planner for a fixed-wing UAV to avoid collisions with aircraft. The image-based method is unable to produce an optimal path and the geometry method uses a simplified UAV model. To compensate these two disadvantages, a series of algorithms built upon the Closed-Loop Rapid Exploratory Random Tree are developed as global path planners to generate collision avoidance paths in real time. The algorithms are validated in Software-In-the-Loop (SITL) and Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulations using a fixed-wing UAV model and in real flight experiments using quadrotors. It is observed that the algorithm enables a UAV to avoid moving obstacles approaching to it with different directions and speeds.

  7. Delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ivancic, William D.; Sullivan, Donald V.

    2011-01-01

    To support much of NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Program science, NASA has acquired two Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Two major missions are currently planned using the Global Hawk: the Global Hawk Pacific (GloPac) and the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) missions. This paper briefly describes GloPac and GRIP, the concept of operations and the resulting requirements and communication architectures. Also discussed are requirements for future missions that may use satellite systems and networks owned and operated by third parties.

  8. Aerial Terrain Mapping Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tahar, K. N.

    2012-08-01

    This paper looks into the latest achievement in the low-cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology in their capacity to map the semi-development areas. The objectives of this study are to establish a new methodology or a new algorithm in image registration during interior orientation process and to determine the accuracy of the photogrammetric products by using UAV images. Recently, UAV technology has been used in several applications such as mapping, agriculture and surveillance. The aim of this study is to scrutinize the usage of UAV to map the semi-development areas. The performance of the low cost UAV mapping study was established on a study area with two image processing methods so that the results could be comparable. A non-metric camera was attached at the bottom of UAV and it was used to capture images at both sites after it went through several calibration steps. Calibration processes were carried out to determine focal length, principal distance, radial lens distortion, tangential lens distortion and affinity. A new method in image registration for a non-metric camera is discussed in this paper as a part of new methodology of this study. This method used the UAV Global Positioning System (GPS) onboard to register the UAV image for interior orientation process. Check points were established randomly at both sites using rapid static Global Positioning System. Ground control points are used for exterior orientation process, and check point is used for accuracy assessment of photogrammetric product. All acquired images were processed in a photogrammetric software. Two methods of image registration were applied in this study, namely, GPS onboard registration and ground control point registration. Both registrations were processed by using photogrammetric software and the result is discussed. Two results were produced in this study, which are the digital orthophoto and the digital terrain model. These results were analyzed by using the root mean square

  9. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles unique cost estimating requirements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malone, P.; Apgar, H.; Stukes, S.; Sterk, S.

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also referred to as drones, are aerial platforms that fly without a human pilot onboard. UAVs are controlled autonomously by a computer in the vehicle or under the remote control of a pilot stationed at a fixed ground location. There are a wide variety of drone shapes, sizes, configurations, complexities, and characteristics. Use of these devices by the Department of Defense (DoD), NASA, civil and commercial organizations continues to grow. UAVs are commonly used for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR). They are also use for combat operations, and civil applications, such as firefighting, non-military security work, surveillance of infrastructure (e.g. pipelines, power lines and country borders). UAVs are often preferred for missions that require sustained persistence (over 4 hours in duration), or are “ too dangerous, dull or dirty” for manned aircraft. Moreover, they can offer significant acquisition and operations cost savings over traditional manned aircraft. Because of these unique characteristics and missions, UAV estimates require some unique estimating methods. This paper describes a framework for estimating UAV systems total ownership cost including hardware components, software design, and operations. The challenge of collecting data, testing the sensitivities of cost drivers, and creating cost estimating relationships (CERs) for each key work breakdown structure (WBS) element is discussed. The autonomous operation of UAVs is especially challenging from a software perspective.

  10. Exploration of Titan using Vertical Lift Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, L. A.

    2001-01-01

    Autonomous vertical lift aerial vehicles (such as rotorcraft or powered-lift vehicles) hold considerable potential for supporting planetary science and exploration missions. Vertical lift aerial vehicles would have the following advantages/attributes for planetary exploration: low-speed and low-altitude detailed aerial surveys; remote-site sample return to lander platforms; precision placement of scientific probes; soft landing capability for vehicle reuse (multiple flights) and remote-site monitoring; greater range, speed, and access to hazardous terrain than a surface rover; greater resolution of surface details than an orbiter or balloons. Exploration of Titan presents an excellent opportunity for the development and usage of such vehicles.

  11. Intelligent mission management for uninhabited aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sullivan, Don; Totah, Joseph J.; Wegener, Steve S.; Enomoto, Francis Y.; Frost, Chad R.; Kaneshige, John; Frank, Jeremy E.

    2004-12-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, is developing Intelligent Mission Management (IMM) technology for Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAV"s) under the Vehicle Systems Program"s Autonomous Robust Avionics Project. The objective of the project is to develop air vehicle and associated ground element technology to enhance mission success by increasing mission return and reducing mission risk. Unanticipated science targets, uncertain conditions and changing mission requirements can all influence a flight plan and may require human intervention during the flight; however, time delays and communications bandwidth limit opportunities for operator intervention. To meet these challenges, we will develop UAV-specific technologies enabling goal-directed autonomy, i.e. the ability to redirect the flight in response to current conditions and the current goals of the flight. Our approach divides goal-directed autonomy into two components, an on-board Intelligent Agent Architecture (IAA) and a ground based Collaborative Decision Environment (CDE). These technologies cut across all aspects of a UAV system, including the payload, inner- and outer-loop onboard control, and the operator"s ground station.

  12. Measured Noise from Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cabell, Randolph; McSwain, Robert; Grosveld, Ferdinand

    2016-01-01

    Proposed uses of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including home package delivery, have the potential to expose large portions of communities to a new noise source. This paper discusses results of flyover noise measurements of four small UAVs, including an internal combustion-powered model airplane and three battery-powered multicopters. Basic noise characteristics of these vehicles are discussed, including spectral properties and sound level metrics such as sound pressure level, effective perceived noise level, and sound exposure level. The size and aerodynamic characteristics of the multicopters in particular make their flight path susceptible to atmospheric disturbances such as wind gusts. These gusts, coupled with a flight control system that varies rotor speed to maintain vehicle stability, create an unsteady acoustic signature. The spectral variations resulting from this unsteadiness are explored, in both hover and flyover conditions for the multicopters. The time varying noise, which differs from the relatively steady noise generated by large transport aircraft, may complicate the prediction of human annoyance using conventional sound level metrics.

  13. Precision wildlife monitoring using unmanned aerial vehicles

    PubMed Central

    Hodgson, Jarrod C.; Baylis, Shane M.; Mott, Rowan; Herrod, Ashley; Clarke, Rohan H.

    2016-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) represent a new frontier in environmental research. Their use has the potential to revolutionise the field if they prove capable of improving data quality or the ease with which data are collected beyond traditional methods. We apply UAV technology to wildlife monitoring in tropical and polar environments and demonstrate that UAV-derived counts of colony nesting birds are an order of magnitude more precise than traditional ground counts. The increased count precision afforded by UAVs, along with their ability to survey hard-to-reach populations and places, will likely drive many wildlife monitoring projects that rely on population counts to transition from traditional methods to UAV technology. Careful consideration will be required to ensure the coherence of historic data sets with new UAV-derived data and we propose a method for determining the number of duplicated (concurrent UAV and ground counts) sampling points needed to achieve data compatibility. PMID:26986721

  14. Precision wildlife monitoring using unmanned aerial vehicles.

    PubMed

    Hodgson, Jarrod C; Baylis, Shane M; Mott, Rowan; Herrod, Ashley; Clarke, Rohan H

    2016-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) represent a new frontier in environmental research. Their use has the potential to revolutionise the field if they prove capable of improving data quality or the ease with which data are collected beyond traditional methods. We apply UAV technology to wildlife monitoring in tropical and polar environments and demonstrate that UAV-derived counts of colony nesting birds are an order of magnitude more precise than traditional ground counts. The increased count precision afforded by UAVs, along with their ability to survey hard-to-reach populations and places, will likely drive many wildlife monitoring projects that rely on population counts to transition from traditional methods to UAV technology. Careful consideration will be required to ensure the coherence of historic data sets with new UAV-derived data and we propose a method for determining the number of duplicated (concurrent UAV and ground counts) sampling points needed to achieve data compatibility. PMID:26986721

  15. Spread spectrum applications in unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bess, Philip K.

    1994-06-01

    This thesis is part of an ongoing Naval Postgraduate School research project to develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) using current off the shelf (COTS) technology. This thesis specifically evaluated a spread spectrum UHF data link between a UAV and ground terminal. The command and control (C2) process and its role as the fundamental premise of the warfare commander were discussed. A review of the Pioneer remotely piloted vehicle (RPV), which gained such wide recognition during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, was provided to the reader for familiarization with the workings of a generic UAV. An investigation of two common spread spectrum techniques and their associated benefits was made. A link budget calculation was made. The choice of a spread spectrum radio transceiver was reviewed. The requirements and design of the UAV and ground terminal antenna were discussed. A link budget analysis was performed. An atmospheric path propagation prediction was performed. The details of an actual flight test and the data gathered were examined. Future changes to enhance the data link performance and increase its capabilities were introduced. The COTS spread spectrum data link will enhance the role of the UAV in its command and control mission for the warfare commander.

  16. Observing snow cover using unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spallek, Waldemar; Witek, Matylda; Niedzielski, Tomasz

    2016-04-01

    Snow cover is a key environmental variable that influences high flow events driven by snow-melt episodes. Estimates of snow extent (SE), snow depth (SD) and snow water equivalent (SWE) allow to approximate runoff caused by snow-melt episodes. These variables are purely spatial characteristics, and hence their pointwise measurements using terrestrial monitoring systems do not offer the comprehensive and fully-spatial information on water storage in snow. Existing satellite observations of snow reveal moderate spatial resolution which, not uncommonly, is not fine enough to estimate the above-mentioned snow-related variables for small catchments. High-resolution aerial photographs and the resulting orthophotomaps and digital surface models (DSMs), obtained using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), may offer spatial resolution of 3 cm/px. The UAV-based observation of snow cover may be done using the near-infrared (NIR) cameras and visible-light cameras. Since the beginning of 2015, in frame of the research project no. LIDER/012/223/L-5/13/NCBR/2014 financed by the National Centre for Research and Development of Poland, we have performed a series of the UAV flights targeted at four sites in the Kwisa catchment in the Izerskie Mts. (part of the Sudetes, SW Poland). Observations are carried out with the ultralight UAV swinglet CAM (produced by senseFly, lightweight 0.5 kg, wingspan 80 cm) which enables on-demand sampling at low costs. The aim of the field work is to acquire aerial photographs taken using the visible-light and NIR cameras for a purpose of producing time series of DSMs and orthophotomaps with snow cover for all sites. The DSMs are used to calculate SD as difference between observational (with snow) and reference (without snow) models. In order to verify such an approach to compute SD we apply several procedures, one of which is the estimation of SE using the corresponding orthophotomaps generated on a basis of visual-light and NIR images. The objective of this

  17. The remote characterization of vegetation using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle photography

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can fly in place of piloted aircraft to gather remote sensing information on vegetation characteristics. The type of sensors flown depends on the instrument payload capacity available, so that, depending on the specific UAV, it is possible to obtain video, aerial phot...

  18. Solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Reinhardt, K.C.; Lamp, T.R.; Geis, J.W.; Colozza, A.J.

    1996-12-31

    An analysis was performed to determine the impact of various power system components and mission requirements on the size of solar-powered high altitude long endurance (HALE)-type aircraft. The HALE unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has good potential for use in many military and civil applications. The primary power system components considered in this study were photovoltaic (PV) modules for power generation and regenerative fuel cells for energy storage. The impact of relevant component performance on UAV size and capability were considered; including PV module efficiency and mass, power electronics efficiency, and fuel cell specific energy. Mission parameters such as time of year, flight altitude, flight latitude, and payload mass and power were also varied to determine impact on UAV size. The aircraft analysis method used determines the required aircraft wing aspect ratio, wing area, and total mass based on maximum endurance or minimum required power calculations. The results indicate that the capacity of the energy storage system employed, fuel cells in this analysis, greatly impacts aircraft size, whereas the impact of PV module efficiency and mass is much less important. It was concluded that an energy storage specific energy (total system) of 250--500 Whr/kg is required to enable most useful missions, and that PV cells with efficiencies greater than {approximately} 12% are suitable for use.

  19. Robust adaptive control for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kahveci, Nazli E.

    The objective of meeting higher endurance requirements remains a challenging task for any type and size of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). According to recent research studies significant energy savings can be realized through utilization of thermal currents. The navigation strategies followed across thermal regions, however, are based on rather intuitive assessments of remote pilots and lack any systematic path planning approaches. Various methods to enhance the autonomy of UAVs in soaring applications are investigated while seeking guarantees for flight performance improvements. The dynamics of the aircraft, small UAVs in particular, are affected by the environmental conditions, whereas unmodeled dynamics possibly become significant during aggressive flight maneuvers. Besides, the demanded control inputs might have a magnitude range beyond the limits dictated by the control surface actuators. The consequences of ignoring these issues can be catastrophic. Supporting this claim NASA Dryden Flight Research Center reports considerable performance degradation and even loss of stability in autonomous soaring flight tests with the subsequent risk of an aircraft crash. The existing control schemes are concluded to suffer from limited performance. Considering the aircraft dynamics and the thermal characteristics we define a vehicle-specific trajectory optimization problem to achieve increased cross-country speed and extended range of flight. In an environment with geographically dispersed set of thermals of possibly limited lifespan, we identify the similarities to the Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) and provide both exact and approximate guidance algorithms for the navigation of automated UAVs. An additional stochastic approach is used to quantify the performance losses due to incorrect thermal data while dealing with random gust disturbances and onboard sensor measurement inaccuracies. One of the main contributions of this research is a novel adaptive control design with

  20. Exploration of Titan Using Vertical Lift Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, L. A.

    2001-01-01

    Autonomous vertical lift aerial vehicles (such as rotorcraft or powered-lift vehicles) hold considerable potential for supporting planetary science and exploration missions. Vertical lift aerial vehicles would have the following advantages/attributes for planetary exploration: (1) low-speed and low-altitude detailed aerial surveys; (2) remote-site sample return to lander platforms; (3) precision placement of scientific probes; (4) soft landing capability for vehicle reuse (multiple flights) and remote-site monitoring; (5) greater range, speed, and access to hazardous terrain than a surface rover; and (6) greater resolution of surface details than an orbiter or balloons. Exploration of Titan presents an excellent opportunity for the development and usage of such vehicles. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  1. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems for Disaster Relief: Tornado Alley

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DeBusk, Wesley M.

    2009-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicle systems are currently in limited use for public service missions worldwide. Development of civil unmanned technology in the United States currently lags behind military unmanned technology development in part because of unresolved regulatory and technological issues. Civil unmanned aerial vehicle systems have potential to augment disaster relief and emergency response efforts. Optimal design of aerial systems for such applications will lead to unmanned vehicles which provide maximum potentiality for relief and emergency response while accounting for public safety concerns and regulatory requirements. A case study is presented that demonstrates application of a civil unmanned system to a disaster relief mission with the intent on saving lives. The concept utilizes unmanned aircraft to obtain advanced warning and damage assessments for tornados and severe thunderstorms. Overview of a tornado watch mission architecture as well as commentary on risk, cost, need for, and design tradeoffs for unmanned aerial systems are provided.

  2. Observing river stages using unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niedzielski, Tomasz; Witek, Matylda; Spallek, Waldemar

    2016-08-01

    We elaborated a new method for observing water surface areas and river stages using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It is based on processing multitemporal five orthophotomaps produced from the UAV-taken visible light images of nine sites of the river, acquired with a sufficient overlap in each part. Water surface areas are calculated in the first place, and subsequently expressed as fractions of total areas of water-covered terrain at a given site of the river recorded on five dates. The logarithms of the fractions are later calculated, producing five samples, each consisted of nine elements. In order to detect statistically significant increments of water surface areas between two orthophotomaps, we apply the asymptotic and bootstrapped versions of the Student's t test, preceded by other tests that aim to check model assumptions. The procedure is applied to five orthophotomaps covering nine sites of the Ścinawka river (south-western (SW) Poland). The data have been acquired during the experimental campaign, at which flight settings were kept unchanged over nearly 3 years (2012-2014). We have found that it is possible to detect transitions between water surface areas associated with all characteristic water levels (low, mean, intermediate and high stages). In addition, we infer that the identified transitions hold for characteristic river stages as well. In the experiment we detected all increments of water level: (1) from low stages to mean, intermediate and high stages; (2) from mean stages to intermediate and high stages; and (3) from intermediate stages to high stages. Potential applications of the elaborated method include verification of hydrodynamic models and the associated predictions of high flows as well as monitoring water levels of rivers in ungauged basins.

  3. Uncooled infrared development for small unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pitt, Timothy S.; Wood, Sam B.; Waddle, Caleb E.; Edwards, William D.; Yeske, Ben S.

    2010-04-01

    The US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) is developing a micro-uncooled infrared (IR) capability for small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS). In 2007, AMRDEC procured several uncooled microbolometers for lab and field test evaluations, and static tower tests involving specific target sets confirmed initial modeling and simulation predictions. With these promising results, AMRDEC procured two captive flight test (CFT) vehicles and, in 2008, completed numerous captive flights to capture imagery with the micro-uncooled infrared sensors. Several test configurations were used to build a comprehensive data set. These configurations included variations in look-down angles, fields of view (FOV), environments, altitudes, and target scenarios. Data collected during these field tests is also being used to develop human tracking algorithms and image stabilization software by other AMRDEC personnel. Details of these ongoing efforts will be presented in this paper and will include: 1) onboard digital data recording capabilities; 2) analog data links for visual verification of imagery; 3) sensor packaging and design; which include both infrared and visible cameras; 4) field test and data collection results; 5) future plans; 6) potential applications. Finally, AMRDEC has recently acquired a 17 μm pitch detector array. The paper will include plans to test both 17 μm and 25 μm microbolometer technologies simultaneously in a side-by-side captive flight comparison.

  4. Sampling-based real-time motion planning under state uncertainty for autonomous micro-aerial vehicles in GPS-denied environments.

    PubMed

    Li, Dachuan; Li, Qing; Cheng, Nong; Song, Jingyan

    2014-01-01

    This paper presents a real-time motion planning approach for autonomous vehicles with complex dynamics and state uncertainty. The approach is motivated by the motion planning problem for autonomous vehicles navigating in GPS-denied dynamic environments, which involves non-linear and/or non-holonomic vehicle dynamics, incomplete state estimates, and constraints imposed by uncertain and cluttered environments. To address the above motion planning problem, we propose an extension of the closed-loop rapid belief trees, the closed-loop random belief trees (CL-RBT), which incorporates predictions of the position estimation uncertainty, using a factored form of the covariance provided by the Kalman filter-based estimator. The proposed motion planner operates by incrementally constructing a tree of dynamically feasible trajectories using the closed-loop prediction, while selecting candidate paths with low uncertainty using efficient covariance update and propagation. The algorithm can operate in real-time, continuously providing the controller with feasible paths for execution, enabling the vehicle to account for dynamic and uncertain environments. Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed approach can generate feasible trajectories that reduce the state estimation uncertainty, while handling complex vehicle dynamics and environment constraints. PMID:25412217

  5. Sampling-Based Real-Time Motion Planning under State Uncertainty for Autonomous Micro-Aerial Vehicles in GPS-Denied Environments

    PubMed Central

    Li, Dachuan; Li, Qing; Cheng, Nong; Song, Jingyan

    2014-01-01

    This paper presents a real-time motion planning approach for autonomous vehicles with complex dynamics and state uncertainty. The approach is motivated by the motion planning problem for autonomous vehicles navigating in GPS-denied dynamic environments, which involves non-linear and/or non-holonomic vehicle dynamics, incomplete state estimates, and constraints imposed by uncertain and cluttered environments. To address the above motion planning problem, we propose an extension of the closed-loop rapid belief trees, the closed-loop random belief trees (CL-RBT), which incorporates predictions of the position estimation uncertainty, using a factored form of the covariance provided by the Kalman filter-based estimator. The proposed motion planner operates by incrementally constructing a tree of dynamically feasible trajectories using the closed-loop prediction, while selecting candidate paths with low uncertainty using efficient covariance update and propagation. The algorithm can operate in real-time, continuously providing the controller with feasible paths for execution, enabling the vehicle to account for dynamic and uncertain environments. Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed approach can generate feasible trajectories that reduce the state estimation uncertainty, while handling complex vehicle dynamics and environment constraints. PMID:25412217

  6. Application of Adaptive Autopilot Designs for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shin, Yoonghyun; Calise, Anthony J.; Motter, Mark A.

    2005-01-01

    This paper summarizes the application of two adaptive approaches to autopilot design, and presents an evaluation and comparison of the two approaches in simulation for an unmanned aerial vehicle. One approach employs two-stage dynamic inversion and the other employs feedback dynamic inversions based on a command augmentation system. Both are augmented with neural network based adaptive elements. The approaches permit adaptation to both parametric uncertainty and unmodeled dynamics, and incorporate a method that permits adaptation during periods of control saturation. Simulation results for an FQM-117B radio controlled miniature aerial vehicle are presented to illustrate the performance of the neural network based adaptation.

  7. On the measurement of turbulence with unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Witte, Brandon; Thamann, Michael; Bailey, Sean

    2014-11-01

    We address the challenge of taking the novel approach of using highly instrumented and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to spatially interrogate the atmospheric boundary layer's turbulent flow structure over a wide range of length scales. This approach will introduce new capabilities not available in contemporary micro-meteorological measurement techniques: the ability to spatially sample the flow field over a wide range of spatial scales; a reduced reliance on assumptions regarding the temporal evolution of the turbulence; the ability to measure in a wide range of boundary conditions and distance from the earth's surface; the ability to gather many boundary layer thicknesses of data during brief periods of statistical quasi-stationarity; and the ability to acquire data where and when it is needed. We describe recent progress made in developing purpose-built airframes, integrating sensors into those airframes, and developing data analysis techniques to isolate the atmospheric turbulence from the measured velocity signal. This research is supported by NASA Kentucky Award NNX10AL96H and NSF Award CBET-1351411.

  8. Micro-unmanned aerodynamic vehicle

    DOEpatents

    Reuel, Nigel; Lionberger, Troy A.; Galambos, Paul C.; Okandan, Murat; Baker, Michael S.

    2008-03-11

    A MEMS-based micro-unmanned vehicle includes at least a pair of wings having leading wing beams and trailing wing beams, at least two actuators, a leading actuator beam coupled to the leading wing beams, a trailing actuator beam coupled to the trailing wing beams, a vehicle body having a plurality of fulcrums pivotally securing the leading wing beams, the trailing wing beams, the leading actuator beam and the trailing actuator beam and having at least one anisotropically etched recess to accommodate a lever-fulcrum motion of the coupled beams, and a power source.

  9. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use for Wood Chips Pile Volume Estimation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mokroš, M.; Tabačák, M.; Lieskovský, M.; Fabrika, M.

    2016-06-01

    The rapid development of unmanned aerial vehicles is a challenge for applied research. Many technologies are developed and then researcher are looking up for their application in different sectors. Therefore, we decided to verify the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle for wood chips pile monitoring. We compared the use of GNSS device and unmanned aerial vehicle for volume estimation of four wood chips piles. We used DJI Phantom 3 Professional with the built-in camera and GNSS device (geoexplorer 6000). We used Agisoft photoscan for processing photos and ArcGIS for processing points. Volumes calculated from pictures were not statistically significantly different from amounts calculated from GNSS data and high correlation between them was found (p = 0.9993). We conclude that the use of unmanned aerial vehicle instead of the GNSS device does not lead to significantly different results. Tthe data collection consumed from almost 12 to 20 times less time with the use of UAV. Additionally, UAV provides documentation trough orthomosaic.

  10. Flexible vision-based navigation system for unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blasch, Erik P.

    1995-01-01

    A critical component of unmanned aerial vehicles in the navigation system which provides position and velocity feedback for autonomous control. The Georgia Tech Aerial Robotics navigational system (NavSys) consists of four DVTStinger70C Integrated Vision Units (IVUs) with CCD-based panning platforms, software, and a fiducial onboard the vehicle. The IVUs independently scan for the retro-reflective bar-code fiducial while the NavSys image processing software performs a gradient threshold followed by a image search localization of three vertical bar-code lines. Using the (x,y) image coordinate and CCD angle, the NavSys triangulates the fiducial's (x,y) position, differentiates for velocity, and relays the information to the helicopter controller, which independently determines the z direction with an onboard altimeter. System flexibility is demonstrated by recognition of different fiducial shapes, night and day time operation, and is being extended to on-board and off-board navigation of aerial and ground vehicles. The navigation design provides a real-time, inexpensive, and effective system for determining the (x,y) position of the aerial vehicle with updates generated every 51 ms (19.6 Hz) at an accuracy of approximately +/- 2.8 in.

  11. High throughput phenotyping using an unmanned aerial vehicle

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Field trials are expensive and labor-intensive to carry out. Strategies to maximize data collection from these trials will improve research efficiencies. We have purchased a small unmanned aerial vehicle (AEV) to collect digital images from field plots. The AEV is remote-controlled and can be guided...

  12. Dead Slow: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Loitering in Battlespace

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Blackmore, Tim

    2005-01-01

    Unmanned (or Uninhabited) Aerial Vehicles are a key part of the American military's so-called revolution in military affairs (RMA) as practiced over Iraq. They are also part of the drive to shift agency away from humans and toward machines. This article considers the ways in which humans have, in calling on high technologies to distance them from…

  13. Synthesis of the unmanned aerial vehicle remote control augmentation system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomczyk, Andrzej

    2014-12-01

    Medium size Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) usually flies as an autonomous aircraft including automatic take-off and landing phases. However in the case of the on-board control system failure, the remote steering is using as an emergency procedure. In this reason, remote manual control of unmanned aerial vehicle is used more often during take-of and landing phases. Depends on UAV take-off mass and speed (total energy) the potential crash can be very danger for airplane and environment. So, handling qualities of UAV is important from pilot-operator point of view. In many cases the dynamic properties of remote controlling UAV are not suitable for obtaining the desired properties of the handling qualities. In this case the control augmentation system (CAS) should be applied. Because the potential failure of the on-board control system, the better solution is that the CAS algorithms are placed on the ground station computers. The method of UAV handling qualities shaping in the case of basic control system failure is presented in this paper. The main idea of this method is that UAV reaction on the operator steering signals should be similar - almost the same - as reaction of the "ideal" remote control aircraft. The model following method was used for controller parameters calculations. The numerical example concerns the medium size MP-02A UAV applied as an aerial observer system.

  14. Synthesis of the unmanned aerial vehicle remote control augmentation system

    SciTech Connect

    Tomczyk, Andrzej

    2014-12-10

    Medium size Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) usually flies as an autonomous aircraft including automatic take-off and landing phases. However in the case of the on-board control system failure, the remote steering is using as an emergency procedure. In this reason, remote manual control of unmanned aerial vehicle is used more often during take-of and landing phases. Depends on UAV take-off mass and speed (total energy) the potential crash can be very danger for airplane and environment. So, handling qualities of UAV is important from pilot-operator point of view. In many cases the dynamic properties of remote controlling UAV are not suitable for obtaining the desired properties of the handling qualities. In this case the control augmentation system (CAS) should be applied. Because the potential failure of the on-board control system, the better solution is that the CAS algorithms are placed on the ground station computers. The method of UAV handling qualities shaping in the case of basic control system failure is presented in this paper. The main idea of this method is that UAV reaction on the operator steering signals should be similar - almost the same - as reaction of the 'ideal' remote control aircraft. The model following method was used for controller parameters calculations. The numerical example concerns the medium size MP-02A UAV applied as an aerial observer system.

  15. Brief Communication: The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle in a rockfall emergency scenario

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giordan, D.; Manconi, A.; Facello, A.; Baldo, M.; dell'Anese, F.; Allasia, P.; Dutto, F.

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in civilian/commercial contexts are becoming increasingly common, as well as for applications concerning anthropic and natural disasters. In this paper, we present the first results of a research project aimed at defining a possible methodology for the use of micro-UAVs in emergency scenarios relevant to rockfall phenomena. To develop and support the method presented herein, the results relevant to a rockfall emergency occurred on 7 March 2014 in the San Germano municipality (north-western Italy) are presented and discussed.

  16. Fuzzy C-Means Algorithm for Segmentation of Aerial Photography Data Obtained Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akinin, M. V.; Akinina, N. V.; Klochkov, A. Y.; Nikiforov, M. B.; Sokolova, A. V.

    2015-05-01

    The report reviewed the algorithm fuzzy c-means, performs image segmentation, give an estimate of the quality of his work on the criterion of Xie-Beni, contain the results of experimental studies of the algorithm in the context of solving the problem of drawing up detailed two-dimensional maps with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. According to the results of the experiment concluded that the possibility of applying the algorithm in problems of decoding images obtained as a result of aerial photography. The considered algorithm can significantly break the original image into a plurality of segments (clusters) in a relatively short period of time, which is achieved by modification of the original k-means algorithm to work in a fuzzy task.

  17. Fuel Cells: A Real Option for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Propulsion

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    The possibility of implementing fuel cell technology in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) propulsion systems is considered. Potential advantages of the Proton Exchange Membrane or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEMFC) and Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC), their fuels (hydrogen and methanol), and their storage systems are revised from technical and environmental standpoints. Some operating commercial applications are described. Main constraints for these kinds of fuel cells are analyzed in order to elucidate the viability of future developments. Since the low power density is the main problem of fuel cells, hybridization with electric batteries, necessary in most cases, is also explored. PMID:24600326

  18. Fuel cells: a real option for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles propulsion.

    PubMed

    González-Espasandín, Óscar; Leo, Teresa J; Navarro-Arévalo, Emilio

    2014-01-01

    The possibility of implementing fuel cell technology in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) propulsion systems is considered. Potential advantages of the Proton Exchange Membrane or Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEMFC) and Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC), their fuels (hydrogen and methanol), and their storage systems are revised from technical and environmental standpoints. Some operating commercial applications are described. Main constraints for these kinds of fuel cells are analyzed in order to elucidate the viability of future developments. Since the low power density is the main problem of fuel cells, hybridization with electric batteries, necessary in most cases, is also explored. PMID:24600326

  19. Application of Artificial Intelligence Techniques in Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dufrene, Warren R., Jr.

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes the development of an application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) control. The project was done as part of the requirements for a class in AI at NOVA Southeastearn University and a beginning project at NASA Wallops Flight Facility for a resilient, robust, and intelligent UAV flight control system. A method is outlined which allows a base level application for applying an Artificial Intelligence method, Fuzzy Logic, to aspects of Control Logic for UAV flight. One element of UAV flight, automated altitude hold, has been implemented and preliminary results displayed.

  20. Application of Artificial Intelligence Techniques in Uninhabitated Aerial Vehicle Flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dufrene, Warren R., Jr.

    2003-01-01

    This paper describes the development of an application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) control. The project was done as part of the requirements for a class in AI at NOVA southeastern University and a beginning project at NASA Wallops Flight Facility for a resilient, robust, and intelligent UAV flight control system. A method is outlined which allows a base level application for applying an Artificial Intelligence method, Fuzzy Logic, to aspects of Control Logic for UAV flight. One element of UAV flight, automated altitude hold, has been implemented and preliminary results displayed.

  1. Use of unmanned aerial vehicles for medical product transport.

    PubMed

    Thiels, Cornelius A; Aho, Johnathon M; Zietlow, Scott P; Jenkins, Donald H

    2015-01-01

    Advances in technology and decreasing costs have led to an increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by the military and civilian sectors. The use of UAVs in commerce is restricted by US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, but the FAA is drafting new regulations that are expected to expand commercial applications. Currently, the transportation of medical goods in times of critical need is limited to wheeled motor vehicles and manned aircraft, options that can be costly and slow. This article explores the demand for, feasibility of, and risks associated with the use of UAVs to deliver medical products, including blood derivatives and pharmaceuticals, to hospitals, mass casualty scenes, and offshore vessels in times of critical demand. PMID:25733117

  2. Robust vehicle detection in low-resolution aerial imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sahli, Samir; Ouyang, Yueh; Sheng, Yunlong; Lavigne, Daniel A.

    2010-04-01

    We propose a feature-based approach for vehicle detection in aerial imagery with 11.2 cm/pixel resolution. The approach is free of all constraints related to the vehicles appearance. The scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT) is used to extract keypoints in the image. The local structure in the neighbouring of the SIFT keypoints is described by 128 gradient orientation based features. A Support Vector Machine is used to create a model which is able to predict if the SIFT keypoints belong to or not to car structures in the image. The collection of SIFT keypoints with car label are clustered in the geometric space into subsets and each subset is associated to one car. This clustering is based on the Affinity Propagation algorithm modified to take into account specific spatial constraint related to geometry of cars at the given resolution.

  3. Unmanned aerial vehicles for rangeland mapping and monitoring: a comparison of two systems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Aerial photography from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) bridges the gap between ground-based observations and remotely sensed imagery from aerial and satellite platforms. UAVs can be deployed quickly and repeatedly, are less costly and safer than piloted aircraft, and can obtain very high-resolution...

  4. Real time target allocation in cooperative unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kudleppanavar, Ganesh

    The prolific development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) in recent years has the potential to provide tremendous advantages in military, commercial and law enforcement applications. While safety and performance take precedence in the development lifecycle, autonomous operations and, in particular, cooperative missions have the ability to significantly enhance the usability of these vehicles. The success of cooperative missions relies on the optimal allocation of targets while taking into consideration the resource limitation of each vehicle. The task allocation process can be centralized or decentralized. This effort presents the development of a real time target allocation algorithm that considers available stored energy in each vehicle while minimizing the communication between each UAV. The algorithm utilizes a nearest neighbor search algorithm to locate new targets with respect to existing targets. Simulations show that this novel algorithm compares favorably to the mixed integer linear programming method, which is computationally more expensive. The implementation of this algorithm on Arduino and Xbee wireless modules shows the capability of the algorithm to execute efficiently on hardware with minimum computation complexity.

  5. Development and prospect of unmanned aerial vehicles for agricultural production management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unmanned aerial vehicles have been developed and applied to support agricultural production management. Compared to piloted aircrafts, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can focus on small crop fields in lower flight altitude than regular airplanes to perform site-specific management with high precisi...

  6. Development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Site-Specific Crop Production Management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have been developed and applied to support the practice of precision agriculture. Compared to piloted aircrafts, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle can focus on much smaller crop fields with much lower flight altitude than regular airplanes to perform site-specific management ...

  7. Reliability Assessment for Low-cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freeman, Paul Michael

    Existing low-cost unmanned aerospace systems are unreliable, and engineers must blend reliability analysis with fault-tolerant control in novel ways. This dissertation introduces the University of Minnesota unmanned aerial vehicle flight research platform, a comprehensive simulation and flight test facility for reliability and fault-tolerance research. An industry-standard reliability assessment technique, the failure modes and effects analysis, is performed for an unmanned aircraft. Particular attention is afforded to the control surface and servo-actuation subsystem. Maintaining effector health is essential for safe flight; failures may lead to loss of control incidents. Failure likelihood, severity, and risk are qualitatively assessed for several effector failure modes. Design changes are recommended to improve aircraft reliability based on this analysis. Most notably, the control surfaces are split, providing independent actuation and dual-redundancy. The simulation models for control surface aerodynamic effects are updated to reflect the split surfaces using a first-principles geometric analysis. The failure modes and effects analysis is extended by using a high-fidelity nonlinear aircraft simulation. A trim state discovery is performed to identify the achievable steady, wings-level flight envelope of the healthy and damaged vehicle. Tolerance of elevator actuator failures is studied using familiar tools from linear systems analysis. This analysis reveals significant inherent performance limitations for candidate adaptive/reconfigurable control algorithms used for the vehicle. Moreover, it demonstrates how these tools can be applied in a design feedback loop to make safety-critical unmanned systems more reliable. Control surface impairments that do occur must be quickly and accurately detected. This dissertation also considers fault detection and identification for an unmanned aerial vehicle using model-based and model-free approaches and applies those

  8. Use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for urban tree inventories

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ritter, Brian A.

    In contrast to standard aerial imagery, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) utilize recent technological advances to provide an affordable alternative for imagery acquisition. Increased value can be realized through clarity and detail providing higher resolution (2-5 cm) over traditional products. Many natural resource disciplines such as urban forestry will benefit from UAS. Tree inventories for risk assessment, biodiversity, planning, and design can be efficiently achieved with the UAS. Recent advances in photogrammetric processing have proved automated methods for three dimensional rendering of aerial imagery. Point clouds can be generated from images providing additional benefits. Association of spatial locational information within the point cloud can be used to produce elevation models i.e. digital elevation, digital terrain and digital surface. Taking advantage of this point cloud data, additional information such as tree heights can be obtained. Several software applications have been developed for LiDAR data which can be adapted to utilize UAS point clouds. This study examines solutions to provide tree inventory and heights from UAS imagery. Imagery taken with a micro-UAS was processed to produce a seamless orthorectified image. This image provided an accurate way to obtain a tree inventory within the study boundary. Utilizing several methods, tree height models were developed with variations in spatial accuracy. Model parameters were modified to offset spatial inconsistencies providing statistical equality of means. Statistical results (p = 0.756) with a level of significance (α = 0.01) between measured and modeled tree height means resulted with 82% of tree species obtaining accurate tree heights. Within this study, the UAS has proven to be an efficient tool for urban forestry providing a cost effective and reliable system to obtain remotely sensed data.

  9. Vision-Based SLAM System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    PubMed Central

    Munguía, Rodrigo; Urzua, Sarquis; Bolea, Yolanda; Grau, Antoni

    2016-01-01

    The present paper describes a vision-based simultaneous localization and mapping system to be applied to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The main contribution of this work is to propose a novel estimator relying on an Extended Kalman Filter. The estimator is designed in order to fuse the measurements obtained from: (i) an orientation sensor (AHRS); (ii) a position sensor (GPS); and (iii) a monocular camera. The estimated state consists of the full state of the vehicle: position and orientation and their first derivatives, as well as the location of the landmarks observed by the camera. The position sensor will be used only during the initialization period in order to recover the metric scale of the world. Afterwards, the estimated map of landmarks will be used to perform a fully vision-based navigation when the position sensor is not available. Experimental results obtained with simulations and real data show the benefits of the inclusion of camera measurements into the system. In this sense the estimation of the trajectory of the vehicle is considerably improved, compared with the estimates obtained using only the measurements from the position sensor, which are commonly low-rated and highly noisy. PMID:26999131

  10. Vision-Based SLAM System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

    PubMed

    Munguía, Rodrigo; Urzua, Sarquis; Bolea, Yolanda; Grau, Antoni

    2016-01-01

    The present paper describes a vision-based simultaneous localization and mapping system to be applied to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The main contribution of this work is to propose a novel estimator relying on an Extended Kalman Filter. The estimator is designed in order to fuse the measurements obtained from: (i) an orientation sensor (AHRS); (ii) a position sensor (GPS); and (iii) a monocular camera. The estimated state consists of the full state of the vehicle: position and orientation and their first derivatives, as well as the location of the landmarks observed by the camera. The position sensor will be used only during the initialization period in order to recover the metric scale of the world. Afterwards, the estimated map of landmarks will be used to perform a fully vision-based navigation when the position sensor is not available. Experimental results obtained with simulations and real data show the benefits of the inclusion of camera measurements into the system. In this sense the estimation of the trajectory of the vehicle is considerably improved, compared with the estimates obtained using only the measurements from the position sensor, which are commonly low-rated and highly noisy. PMID:26999131

  11. A new robust control for minirotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicles.

    PubMed

    Mokhtari, M Rida; Cherki, Brahim

    2015-05-01

    This paper presents a new robust control based on finite-time Lyapunov stability controller and proved with backstepping method for the position and the attitude of a small rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicle subjected to bounded uncertainties and disturbances. The dynamical motion equations are obtained by the Newton-Euler formalism. The proposed controller combines the advantage of the backstepping approach with finite-time convergence techniques to generate a control laws to guarantee the faster convergence of the state variables to their desired values in short time and compensate for the bounded disturbances. A formal proof of the closed-loop stability and finite-time convergence of tracking errors is derived using the Lyapunov function technique. Simulation results are presented to corroborate the effectiveness and the robustness of the proposed control method. PMID:25677710

  12. Development of the unmanned aerial vehicle flight recorder

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walendziuk, Wojciech; Kwasniewski, Daniel

    2014-11-01

    This work presents a telemetric flight recorder which can be used in unmanned aerial vehicles. The device can store GPS position and altitude, measured with the use of pressure sensor HP03M, a flying platform. The most important subassembly of the recorder is an M2M family device H24 modem developed by Telit company. The modem interface communicates with the use of UART interface and AT commands. The autonomic work is provided by a microcontroller which is master component of the recorder. The ATmega 664P-AU from AVR family microcontrollers developed by Atmel is used. The functionality of the measurement system was developed in such a way that a GSM module can send current position to the base station on demand. In the paper the general description of the device and achieved results of tests are presented.

  13. Mission control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles: a workload analysis.

    PubMed

    Dixon, Stephen R; Wickens, Christopher D; Chang, Dervon

    2005-01-01

    With unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 36 licensed pilots flew both single-UAV and dual-UAV simulated military missions. Pilots were required to navigate each UAV through a series of mission legs in one of the following three conditions: a baseline condition, an auditory autoalert condition, and an autopilot condition. Pilots were responsible for (a) mission completion, (b) target search, and (c) systems monitoring. Results revealed that both the autoalert and the autopilot automation improved overall performance by reducing task interference and alleviating workload. The autoalert system benefited performance both in the automated task and mission completion task, whereas the autopilot system benefited performance in the automated task, the mission completion task, and the target search task. Practical implications for the study include the suggestion that reliable automation can help alleviate task interference and reduce workload, thereby allowing pilots to better handle concurrent tasks during single- and multiple-UAV flight control. PMID:16435690

  14. Acoustic atmospheric tomography using multiple unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finn, Anthony; Rogers, Kevin; Meade, Joshua; Franklin, Stephen

    2014-10-01

    This paper presents a method for tomographically reconstructing atmospheric temperature profiles and wind velocity fields based on acoustic travel time measurements between two or more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The technique offers mobility and the capacity to monitor hazardous atmospheric environments, otherwise not justifiable on the basis of cost or risk. Simulations, in which the parametric fields of the atmosphere are modelled as a weighted sum of Radial Basis Functions, demonstrate the technique's potential performance envelope. The approach also allows local meteorological measurements made at the UAVs to supplement any time delay observations. This increases the accuracy of the technique, which has potential for practical applications in boundary layer meteorology, the theory of atmospheric turbulence, and wave propagation through a turbulent atmosphere.

  15. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in atmospheric research and satellite validation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sitnikov, Nikolay; Borisov, Yuriy; Akmulin, Dimitry; Chekulaev, Igor; Efremov, Denis; Sitnikova, Vera; Ulanovsky, Alexey; Popovicheva, Olga

    The perspectives of the development of methods and facilities based on UAV for atmospheric investigations are considered. Some aspects of these methods applications are discussed. Developments of the experimental samples of UAV onboard equipment for measurements of atmospheric parameters carried out in Central Aerological Observatory are presented. Hardware system for the UAV is developed. The results of measurements of the spatial distributions of the thermodynamic parameters and the concentrations of some gas species onboard of remotely piloted and unmanned aerial vehicles obtained in field tests are presented. The development can be used for satellite data validation, as well as operative environmental monitoring of contaminated areas in particular, chemical plants, natural and industrial disasters territories, areas and facilities for space purposes , etc.

  16. Mapping infectious disease landscapes: unmanned aerial vehicles and epidemiology.

    PubMed

    Fornace, Kimberly M; Drakeley, Chris J; William, Timothy; Espino, Fe; Cox, Jonathan

    2014-11-01

    The potential applications of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, have generated intense interest across many fields. UAVs offer the potential to collect detailed spatial information in real time at relatively low cost and are being used increasingly in conservation and ecological research. Within infectious disease epidemiology and public health research, UAVs can provide spatially and temporally accurate data critical to understanding the linkages between disease transmission and environmental factors. Using UAVs avoids many of the limitations associated with satellite data (e.g., long repeat times, cloud contamination, low spatial resolution). However, the practicalities of using UAVs for field research limit their use to specific applications and settings. UAVs fill a niche but do not replace existing remote-sensing methods. PMID:25443854

  17. Minimum time trajectory planning for a micro quadrotor aerial robot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouktir, Y.; Chettibi, T.

    2008-06-01

    A simple direct method able to generate minimum time trajectories for micro quadrotor aerial robots is presented. It is based on modeling the quadrotor trajectory as a composition of a parametric form P(λ), defining the quadrotor path, and a monotonically increasing function λ(t), specifying the motion on this path. The optimal evolutions of P(λ) and λ(t), which are approximated using algebraic spline functions, are found using a nonlinear optimization technique. The proposed method accounts for the most important constraints inherent to the system behavior, such as underactuation and limits on actuator torques and speeds. Furthermore, this method may be used for generating optimal reference dynamic motions in the presence of obstacles.

  18. Hierarchical Motion Planning for Autonomous Aerial and Terrestrial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cowlagi, Raghvendra V.

    Autonomous mobile robots---both aerial and terrestrial vehicles---have gained immense importance due to the broad spectrum of their potential military and civilian applications. One of the indispensable requirements for the autonomy of a mobile vehicle is the vehicle's capability of planning and executing its motion, that is, finding appropriate control inputs for the vehicle such that the resulting vehicle motion satisfies the requirements of the vehicular task. The motion planning and control problem is inherently complex because it involves two disparate sub-problems: (1) satisfaction of the vehicular task requirements, which requires tools from combinatorics and/or formal methods, and (2) design of the vehicle control laws, which requires tools from dynamical systems and control theory. Accordingly, this problem is usually decomposed and solved over two levels of hierarchy. The higher level, called the geometric path planning level, finds a geometric path that satisfies the vehicular task requirements, e.g., obstacle avoidance. The lower level, called the trajectory planning level, involves sufficient smoothening of this geometric path followed by a suitable time parametrization to obtain a reference trajectory for the vehicle. Although simple and efficient, such hierarchical decomposition suffers a serious drawback: the geometric path planner has no information of the kinematical and dynamical constraints of the vehicle. Consequently, the geometric planner may produce paths that the trajectory planner cannot transform into a feasible reference trajectory. Two main ideas appear in the literature to remedy this problem: (a) randomized sampling-based planning, which eliminates the geometric planner altogether by planning in the vehicle state space, and (b) geometric planning supported by feedback control laws. The former class of methods suffer from a lack of optimality of the resultant trajectory, while the latter class of methods makes a restrictive assumption

  19. Low Cost Surveying Using AN Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pérez, M.; Agüera, F.; Carvajal, F.

    2013-08-01

    Traditional manned airborne surveys are usually expensive and the resolution of the acquired images is often limited. The main advantage of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system acting as a photogrammetric sensor platform over more traditional manned airborne system is the high flexibility that allows image acquisition from unconventional viewpoints, the low cost in comparison with classical aerial photogrammetry and the high resolution images obtained. Nowadays there is a necessity for surveying small areas and in these cases, it is not economical the use of normal large format aerial or metric cameras to acquire aerial photos, therefore, the use of UAV platforms can be very suitable. Also the large availability of digital cameras has strongly enhanced the capabilities of UAVs. The use of digital non metric cameras together with the UAV could be used for multiple applications such as aerial surveys, GIS, wildfire mapping, stability of landslides, crop monitoring, etc. The aim of this work was to develop a low cost and accurate methodology in the production of orthophotos and Digital Elevation Models (DEM). The study was conducted in the province of Almeria, south of Spain. The photogrammetric flight had an altitude of 50 m over ground, covering an area of 5.000 m2 approximately. The UAV used in this work was the md4-200, which is an electronic battery powered quadrocopter UAV developed by Microdrones GmbH, Germany. It had on-board a Pextax Optio A40 digital non metric camera with 12 Megapixels. It features a 3x optical zoom lens with a focal range covering angles of view equivalent to those of 37-111 mm lens in 35 mm format. The quadrocopter can be programmed to follow a route defined by several waypoints and actions and it has the ability for vertical take off and landing. Proper flight geometry during image acquisition is essential in order to minimize the number of photographs, avoid areas without a good coverage and make the overlaps homogeneous. The flight

  20. Real-time aerial video exploitation station for small unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gregga, Jason B.; Pope, Art; Kielmeyer, Kathy; Ran, Yang

    2008-04-01

    SET Corporation, under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory, Sensors Directorate, is building a Real-time Aerial Video Exploitation (RAVE) Station for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAVs). Users of SUAVs have in general been underserved by the exploitation community because of the unique challenges of operating in the SUAV environment. SUAVs are often used by small teams without the benefits of dedicated personnel, equipment, and time for exploitation. Thus, effective exploitation tools for these users must have sufficiently automated capabilities to keep demands on the team's labor low, with the ability to process video and display results in real-time on commonly-found ruggedized laptops. The RAVE Station provides video stabilization, mosaicking, moving target indicators (MTI), tracking, and target classification, and displays the results in several different display modes. This paper focuses on features of the RAVE Station implementation that make it efficient, low-cost, and easy to use. The software architecture is a pipeline model, allowing each processing module to tap off the pipe, and to add new information back into the stream, keeping redundancy to a minimum. The software architecture is also open, allowing new algorithms to be developed and plugged in. Frame-to-frame registration is performed by a feature-tracking algorithm which employs RANSAC to discard outlying matches. MTI is performed via a fast and robust three frame differencing algorithm. The user interface and exploitation functions are simple, easy to learn and use. RAVE is a capable exploitation tool that meets the needs of SUAV users despite their challenging environment.

  1. Flexible-Wing-Based Micro Air Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ifju, Peter G.; Jenkins, David A.; Ettinger, Scott; Lian, Yong-Sheng; Shyy, Wei; Waszak, Martin R.

    2002-01-01

    This paper documents the development and evaluation of an original flexible-wing-based Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) technology that reduces adverse effects of gusty wind conditions and unsteady aerodynamics, exhibits desirable flight stability, and enhances structural durability. The flexible wing concept has been demonstrated on aircraft with wingspans ranging from 18 inches to 5 inches. Salient features of the flexible-wing-based MAV, including the vehicle concept, flexible wing design, novel fabrication methods, aerodynamic assessment, and flight data analysis are presented.

  2. Routing and Allocation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with Communication Considerations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sabo, Chelsea

    Cooperative Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) teams are anticipated to provide much needed support for human intelligence, measurement and signature intelligence, signals intelligence, imagery intelligence, and open source intelligence through algorithms, software, and automation. Therefore, it is necessary to have autonomous algorithms that route multiple UAVs effectively and efficiently throughout missions and that these are realizable in the real-world given the associated uncertainties. Current routing strategies ignore communication constraints altogether. In reality, communication can be restricted by bandwidth, line-of-sight, maximum communication ranges, or a need for uninterrupted transmission. Generating autonomous algorithms that work effectively around these communication constraints is key for the future of UAV surveillance applications. In this work, both current and new routing strategies for UAVS are analyzed to determine how communications impact efficiency of information return. It is shown that under certain communication conditions, a new approach on routing can be more efficient than typically adopted strategies. This new approach defines and presents a new formulation based on a minimum delivery latency objective function. The problem is formulated such that information is not considered delivered until it is returned back to a high-bandwidth connection (depot) which is common when communication is restricted. The size of the region is shown to be dependent upon distance between requests, UAV bandwidth, UAV velocity, and data size, but it was shown that for large-sized data, long distances, and low bandwidth, it is generally better to route UAVs with this new minimum latency objective. With the added decision of when to deliver information to a high-bandwidth connection, an already computationally complex problem grows even faster. Because of scaling issues, a heuristic algorithm was developed that was constructed by analyzing the optimal

  3. Detecting Changes in Terrain Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rahman, Zia-ur; Hines, Glenn D.; Logan, Michael J.

    2005-01-01

    In recent years, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been used for more than the thrill they bring to model airplane enthusiasts. Their flexibility and low cost have made them a viable option for low-altitude reconnaissance. In a recent effort, we acquired video data from a small UAV during several passes over the same flight path. The objective of the exercise was to determine if objects had been added to the terrain along the flight path between flight passes. Several issues accrue to this simple-sounding problem: (1) lighting variations may cause false detection of objects because of changes in shadow orientation and strength between passes; (2) variations in the flight path due to wind-speed, and heading change may cause misalignment of gross features making the task of detecting changes between the frames very difficult; and (3) changes in the aircraft orientation and altitude lead to a change in size of the features from frame-to-frame making a comparison difficult. In this paper, we discuss our efforts to perform this change detection, and the lessons that we learned from this exercise.

  4. Direct Penguin Counting Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Image

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hyun, C. U.; Kim, H. C.; Kim, J. H.; Hong, S. G.

    2015-12-01

    This study presents an application of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) images to monitor penguin colony in Baton Peninsula, King George Island, Antarctica. The area around Narębski Point located on the southeast coast of Barton Peninsula was designated as Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 171 (ASPA 171), and Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins inhabit in this area. The UAV images were acquired in a part of ASPA 171 from four flights in a single day, Jan 18, 2014. About 360 images were mosaicked as an image of about 3 cm spatial resolution and then a subset including representative penguin rookeries was selected. The subset image was segmented based on gradient map of pixel values, and spectral and spatial attributes were assigned to each segment. The object based image analysis (OBIA) was conducted with consideration of spectral attributes including mean and minimum values of each segment and various shape attributes such as area, length, compactness and roundness to detect individual penguin. The segments indicating individual penguin were effectively detected on rookeries with high contrasts in the spectral and shape attributes. The importance of periodic and precise monitoring of penguins has been recognized because variations of their populations reflect environmental changes and disturbance from human activities. Utilization of very high resolution imaging method shown in this study can be applied to other penguin habitats in Antarctica, and the results will be able to support establishing effective environmental management plans.

  5. Trajectory optimization for unmanned aerial vehicle formation reconfiguration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Hyoung-seok; Kim, Youdan

    2014-01-01

    The results of trajectory optimization to reconfigure unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) formation in the event of a critical failure are presented. The formation reconfiguration process includes two distinct manoeuvres: an escape manoeuvre for a malfunctioning UAV and a replacement movement for an alternative UAV related to its position. This article deals with both manoeuvres but focuses more on the replacement movement. The trajectory optimization problem of the escape manoeuvre is formulated as a minimum-time problem to reduce the possibility of collisions resulting from a failure, whereas the problem of the replacement movement is formulated as a final-time fixed minimum-fuel problem to secure the durability of the group of UAVs. These problems are solved by means of sequential quadratic programming. To evaluate the performance of the optimization results, fuel consumption for the replacement movement is considered and optimization of a three-phase reference trajectory is performed. The results show that the trajectory optimization reduces the fuel consumption and saves time.

  6. Tracking of atmospheric release of pollution using unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Šmídl, Václav; Hofman, Radek

    2013-03-01

    Tracking of an atmospheric release of pollution is usually based on measurements provided by stationary networks, occasionally complemented with deployment of mobile sensors. In this paper, we extend the existing concept to the case where the sensors are carried onboard of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The decision theoretic framework is used to design an unsupervised algorithm that navigates the UAVs to minimize the selected loss function. A particle filter with a problem-tailored proposal function was used as the underlying data assimilation procedure. A range of simulated twin experiments was performed on the problem of tracking an accidental release of radiation from a nuclear power plant in realistic settings. The main uncertainty was in the released activity and in parametric bias of the numerical weather forecast. It was shown that the UAVs can complement the existing stationary network to improve the accuracy of data assimilation. Moreover, two autonomously navigated UAVs alone were shown to provide assimilation results comparable to those obtained using the stationary network with more than thirty sensors.

  7. Thermal soaring flight of birds and unmanned aerial vehicles.

    PubMed

    Akos, Zsuzsa; Nagy, Máté; Leven, Severin; Vicsek, Tamás

    2010-12-01

    Thermal soaring saves much energy, but flying large distances in this form represents a great challenge for birds, people and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The solution is to make use of the so-called thermals, which are localized, warmer regions in the atmosphere moving upward with a speed exceeding the descent rate of birds and planes. Saving energy by exploiting the environment more efficiently is an important possibility for autonomous UAVs as well. Successful control strategies have been developed recently for UAVs in simulations and in real applications. This paper first presents an overview of our knowledge of the soaring flight and strategy of birds, followed by a discussion of control strategies that have been developed for soaring UAVs both in simulations and applications on real platforms. To improve the accuracy of the simulation of thermal exploitation strategies we propose a method to take into account the effect of turbulence. Finally, we propose a new GPS-independent control strategy for exploiting thermal updrafts. PMID:21098957

  8. Lightweight photovoltaic module development for unmanned aerial vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Nowlan, M.J.; Maglitta, J.C.; Lamp, T.R.

    1998-07-01

    Lightweight photovoltaic modules are being developed for powering high altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Terrestrial crystalline silicon solar cell and module technologies are being applied to minimize module cost, with modifications to improve module specific power (W/kg) and power density (W/m{sup 2}). New module processes are being developed for assembling standard thickness (320 mm) and thin (125 mm) solar cells, thin (50 to 100 mm) encapsulant films, and thin (25 mm) cover films. In comparison, typical terrestrial modules use 300 to 400 mm thick solar cells, 460 mm thick encapsulants, and 3.2 mm thick glass covers. The use of thin, lightweight materials allows the fabrication of modules with specific powers ranging from 120 to 200 W/kg, depending on cell thickness and efficiency, compared to 15 W/kg or less for conventional terrestrial modules. High efficiency designs based on ultra-thin (5 mm) GaAs cells have also been developed, with the potential for achieving substantially higher specific powers. Initial design, development, and module assembly work is completed. Prototype modules were fabricated in sizes up to 45 cm x 99 cm. Module materials and processes are being evaluated through accelerated environmental testing, including thermal cycling, humidity-freeze cycling, mechanical cycling, and exposure to UV and visible light.

  9. Application of Artificial Intelligence Techniques in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bauer, Frank H. (Technical Monitor); Dufrene, Warren R., Jr.

    2003-01-01

    This paper describes the development of an application of Artificial Intelligence for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) control. The project was done as part of the requirements for a class in Artificial Intelligence (AI) at Nova southeastern University and as an adjunct to a project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility for a resilient, robust, and intelligent UAV flight control system. A method is outlined which allows a base level application for applying an AI method, Fuzzy Logic, to aspects of Control Logic for UAV flight. One element of UAV flight, automated altitude hold, has been implemented and preliminary results displayed. A low cost approach was taken using freeware, gnu, software, and demo programs. The focus of this research has been to outline some of the AI techniques used for UAV flight control and discuss some of the tools used to apply AI techniques. The intent is to succeed with the implementation of applying AI techniques to actually control different aspects of the flight of an UAV.

  10. Infrared microsensor payload for miniature unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kostrzewa, Joseph; Meyer, William H.; Laband, Stan; Terre, William A.; Petrovich, Peter; Swanson, Kyle; Sundra, Carrie; Sener, Ward; Wilmott, Jay

    2003-09-01

    Miniature unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a category of aircraft small enough to be transported, launched, operated, and retrieved by a crew of one or two. The concept is not new, having been in limited use by the U.S. military over the past fifteen years, but interest in potential applications is growing as size and cost of the vehicles come down. An application that is particularly significant to the military and law-enforcement agencies is remote reconnaissance, with one or more onboard sensors transmitting data back to the operator(s) in real time. Typically, a miniature UAV is capable of flying a pre-programmed route autonomously, with manual override as an option. At the conclusion of the mission, the vehicle returns for landing, after which it can be quickly disassembled and stowed until its next use. Thermal imaging extends the utility of miniature UAVs to operations in complete darkness and limited visibility, but historically thermal imagers have been too large and heavy for this application. That changed in 1999 with the introduction of Indigo System's AlphaTM camera, which established a new class of thermal imaging product termed the infrared "microsensor". Substantially smaller and lighter than any other infrared imaging product available at the time, AlphaTMwas the first camera that could be readily packaged into the nose of a miniature UAV. Its low power consumption was also a key enabling feature. Building upon the success of AlphaTM, Indigo then took the microsensor class a step further with its OmegaTM camera, which broke all the records established by AlphaTM for small size, weight, and power. OmegaTM has been successfully integrated into several miniature UAVs, including AeroVironment's Pointer and Raven, as well as the Snake Eye UAV manufactured by BAI Aerosystems. Aspects of the OmegaTM design that have led to its utility on these and other platforms are described, and future prospects for even smaller microsensors are discussed.

  11. The remote characterization of vegetation using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle photography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rango, A.; Laliberte, A.; Winters, C.; Maxwell, C.; Steele, C.

    2008-12-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can fly in place of piloted aircraft to gather remote sensing information on vegetation characteristics. The type of sensors flown depends on the instrument payload capacity available, so that, depending on the specific UAV, it is possible to obtain video, aerial photographic, multispectral and hyperspectral radiometric, LIDAR, and radar data. The characteristics of several small UAVs less than 55lbs (25kg)) along with some payload instruments will be reviewed. Common types of remote sensing coverage available from a small, limited-payload UAV are video and hyperspatial, digital photography. From evaluation of these simple types of remote sensing data, we conclude that UAVs can play an important role in measuring and monitoring vegetation health and structure of the vegetation/soil complex in rangelands. If we fly our MLB Bat-3 at an altitude of 700ft (213m), we can obtain a digital photographic resolution of 6cm. The digital images acquired cover an area of approximately 29,350sq m. Video imaging is usually only useful for monitoring the flight path of the UAV in real time. In our experiments with the 6cm resolution data, we have been able to measure vegetation patch size, crown width, gap sizes between vegetation, percent vegetation and bare soil cover, and type of vegetation. The UAV system is also being tested to acquire height of the vegetation canopy using shadow measurements and a digital elevation model obtained with stereo images. Evaluation of combining the UAV digital photography with LIDAR data of the Jornada Experimental Range in south central New Mexico is ongoing. The use of UAVs is increasing and is becoming a very promising tool for vegetation assessment and change, but there are several operational components to flying UAVs that users need to consider. These include cost, a whole set of, as yet, undefined regulations regarding flying in the National Air Space(NAS), procedures to gain approval for flying in the NAS

  12. Estimating snow depth in real time using unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niedzielski, Tomasz; Mizinski, Bartlomiej; Witek, Matylda; Spallek, Waldemar; Szymanowski, Mariusz

    2016-04-01

    In frame of the project no. LIDER/012/223/L-5/13/NCBR/2014, financed by the National Centre for Research and Development of Poland, we elaborated a fully automated approach for estimating snow depth in real time in the field. The procedure uses oblique aerial photographs taken by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The geotagged images of snow-covered terrain are processed by the Structure-from-Motion (SfM) method which is used to produce a non-georeferenced dense point cloud. The workflow includes the enhanced RunSFM procedure (keypoint detection using the scale-invariant feature transform known as SIFT, image matching, bundling using the Bundler, executing the multi-view stereo PMVS and CMVS2 software) which is preceded by multicore image resizing. The dense point cloud is subsequently automatically georeferenced using the GRASS software, and the ground control points are borrowed from positions of image centres acquired from the UAV-mounted GPS receiver. Finally, the digital surface model (DSM) is produced which - to improve the accuracy of georeferencing - is shifted using a vector obtained through precise geodetic GPS observation of a single ground control point (GCP) placed on the Laboratory for Unmanned Observations of Earth (mobile lab established at the University of Wroclaw, Poland). The DSM includes snow cover and its difference with the corresponding snow-free DSM or digital terrain model (DTM), following the concept of the digital elevation model of differences (DOD), produces a map of snow depth. Since the final result depends on the snow-free model, two experiments are carried out. Firstly, we show the performance of the entire procedure when the snow-free model reveals a very high resolution (3 cm/px) and is produced using the UAV-taken photographs and the precise GCPs measured by the geodetic GPS receiver. Secondly, we perform a similar exercise but the 1-metre resolution light detection and ranging (LIDAR) DSM or DTM serves as the snow-free model

  13. Cooperative Surveillance and Pursuit Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unattended Ground Sensors

    PubMed Central

    Las Fargeas, Jonathan; Kabamba, Pierre; Girard, Anouck

    2015-01-01

    This paper considers the problem of path planning for a team of unmanned aerial vehicles performing surveillance near a friendly base. The unmanned aerial vehicles do not possess sensors with automated target recognition capability and, thus, rely on communicating with unattended ground sensors placed on roads to detect and image potential intruders. The problem is motivated by persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and base defense missions. The problem is formulated and shown to be intractable. A heuristic algorithm to coordinate the unmanned aerial vehicles during surveillance and pursuit is presented. Revisit deadlines are used to schedule the vehicles' paths nominally. The algorithm uses detections from the sensors to predict intruders' locations and selects the vehicles' paths by minimizing a linear combination of missed deadlines and the probability of not intercepting intruders. An analysis of the algorithm's completeness and complexity is then provided. The effectiveness of the heuristic is illustrated through simulations in a variety of scenarios. PMID:25591168

  14. Vehicle detection from high-resolution aerial images based on superpixel and color name features

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Ziyi; Cao, Liujuan; Yu, Zang; Chen, Yiping; Wang, Cheng; Li, Jonathan

    2016-03-01

    Automatic vehicle detection from aerial images is emerging due to the strong demand of large-area traffic monitoring. In this paper, we present a novel framework for automatic vehicle detection from the aerial images. Through superpixel segmentation, we first segment the aerial images into homogeneous patches, which consist of the basic units during the detection to improve efficiency. By introducing the sparse representation into our method, powerful classification ability is achieved after the dictionary training. To effectively describe a patch, the Histogram of Oriented Gradient (HOG) is used. We further propose to integrate color information to enrich the feature representation by using the color name feature. The final feature consists of both HOG and color name based histogram, by which we get a strong descriptor of a patch. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness and robust performance of the proposed algorithm for vehicle detection from aerial images.

  15. Measurements from an Aerial Vehicle: A New Tool for Planetary Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, Henry S.; Levine, Joel S.; Croom, Mark A.; Edwards, William C.; Qualls, Garry D.; Gasbarre, Joseph F.

    2004-01-01

    Aerial vehicles fill a unique planetary science measurement gap, that of regional-scale, near-surface observation, while providing a fresh perspective for potential discovery. Aerial vehicles used in planetary exploration bridge the scale and resolution measurement gaps between orbiters (global perspective with limited spatial resolution) and landers (local perspective with high spatial resolution) thus complementing and extending orbital and landed measurements. Planetary aerial vehicles can also survey scientifically interesting terrain that is inaccessible or hazardous to landed missions. The use of aerial assets for performing observations on Mars, Titan, or Venus will enable direct measurements and direct follow-ons to recent discoveries. Aerial vehicles can be used for remote sensing of the interior, surface and atmosphere of Mars, Venus and Titan. Types of aerial vehicles considered are airplane "heavier than air" and airships and balloons "lighter than air". Interdependencies between the science measurements, science goals and objectives, and platform implementation illustrate how the proper balance of science, engineering, and cost, can be achieved to allow for a successful mission. Classification of measurement types along with how those measurements resolve science questions and how these instruments are accommodated within the mission context are discussed.

  16. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to Estimate Nitrogen Status of Turfgrasses

    PubMed Central

    Corniglia, Matteo; Gaetani, Monica; Grossi, Nicola; Magni, Simone; Migliazzi, Mauro; Angelini, Luciana; Mazzoncini, Marco; Silvestri, Nicola; Fontanelli, Marco; Raffaelli, Michele; Peruzzi, Andrea; Volterrani, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Spectral reflectance data originating from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) imagery is a valuable tool to monitor plant nutrition, reduce nitrogen (N) application to real needs, thus producing both economic and environmental benefits. The objectives of the trial were i) to compare the spectral reflectance of 3 turfgrasses acquired via UAV and by a ground-based instrument; ii) to test the sensitivity of the 2 data acquisition sources in detecting induced variation in N levels. N application gradients from 0 to 250 kg ha-1 were created on 3 different turfgrass species: Cynodon dactylon x transvaalensis (Cdxt) ‘Patriot’, Zoysia matrella (Zm) ‘Zeon’ and Paspalum vaginatum (Pv) ‘Salam’. Proximity and remote-sensed reflectance measurements were acquired using a GreenSeeker handheld crop sensor and a UAV with onboard a multispectral sensor, to determine Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Proximity-sensed NDVI is highly correlated with data acquired from UAV with r values ranging from 0.83 (Zm) to 0.97 (Cdxt). Relating NDVI-UAV with clippings N, the highest r is for Cdxt (0.95). The most reactive species to N fertilization is Cdxt with a clippings N% ranging from 1.2% to 4.1%. UAV imagery can adequately assess the N status of turfgrasses and its spatial variability within a species, so for large areas, such as golf courses, sod farms or race courses, UAV acquired data can optimize turf management. For relatively small green areas, a hand-held crop sensor can be a less expensive and more practical option. PMID:27341674

  17. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to Estimate Nitrogen Status of Turfgrasses.

    PubMed

    Caturegli, Lisa; Corniglia, Matteo; Gaetani, Monica; Grossi, Nicola; Magni, Simone; Migliazzi, Mauro; Angelini, Luciana; Mazzoncini, Marco; Silvestri, Nicola; Fontanelli, Marco; Raffaelli, Michele; Peruzzi, Andrea; Volterrani, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Spectral reflectance data originating from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) imagery is a valuable tool to monitor plant nutrition, reduce nitrogen (N) application to real needs, thus producing both economic and environmental benefits. The objectives of the trial were i) to compare the spectral reflectance of 3 turfgrasses acquired via UAV and by a ground-based instrument; ii) to test the sensitivity of the 2 data acquisition sources in detecting induced variation in N levels. N application gradients from 0 to 250 kg ha-1 were created on 3 different turfgrass species: Cynodon dactylon x transvaalensis (Cdxt) 'Patriot', Zoysia matrella (Zm) 'Zeon' and Paspalum vaginatum (Pv) 'Salam'. Proximity and remote-sensed reflectance measurements were acquired using a GreenSeeker handheld crop sensor and a UAV with onboard a multispectral sensor, to determine Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Proximity-sensed NDVI is highly correlated with data acquired from UAV with r values ranging from 0.83 (Zm) to 0.97 (Cdxt). Relating NDVI-UAV with clippings N, the highest r is for Cdxt (0.95). The most reactive species to N fertilization is Cdxt with a clippings N% ranging from 1.2% to 4.1%. UAV imagery can adequately assess the N status of turfgrasses and its spatial variability within a species, so for large areas, such as golf courses, sod farms or race courses, UAV acquired data can optimize turf management. For relatively small green areas, a hand-held crop sensor can be a less expensive and more practical option. PMID:27341674

  18. An optical water vapor sensor for unmanned aerial vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Timothy A. Berkoff; Paul L. Kebabian; Robert A. McClatchy; Charles E. Kolb; Andrew Freedman

    1998-12-01

    The water vapor sensor developed by Aerodyne Research, based on the optical absorption of light at {approximately}935 nm, has been successfully demonstrated on board the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Gulfstream-1 research aircraft during the Department of Energy's ARM Intensive Operations Period in August 1998. Data taken during this field campaign show excellent agreement with a chilled mirror and Lyman-alpha hygrometers and measurements confirm the ability to measure rapid, absolute water vapor fluctuations with a high degree of instrument stability and accuracy, with a noise level as low 10 ppmv (1 Hz measurement bandwidth). The construction of this small, lightweight sensor contains several unique elements which result in several significant advantages when compared to other techniques. First, the low power consumption Argon discharge lamp provides an optical beam at a fixed wavelength without a need for temperature or precision current control. The multi-pass absorption cell developed for this instrument provides a compact, low cost method that can survive deployment in the field. Fiber-optic cables, which are used to convey to light between the absorption cell, light source, and detection modules enable remote placement of the absorption cell from the opto-electronics module. Finally, the sensor does not use any moving parts which removes a significant source of potential malfunction. The result is an instrument which maintained its calibration throughout the field measurement campaign, and was not affected by high vibration and large uncontrolled temperature excursions. We believe that the development of an accurate, fast response water vapor monitor described in this report will open up new avenues of aerial-vehicle-based atmospheric research which have been relatively unexplored due to the lack of suitable low-cost, light-weight instrumentation.

  19. Photovoltaic electric power applied to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geis, Jack; Arnold, Jack H.

    1994-09-01

    Photovoltaic electric-powered flight is receiving a great deal of attention in the context of the United States' Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program. This paper addresses some of the enabling technical areas and their potential solutions. Of particular interest are the long-duration, high-altitude class of UAV's whose mission it is to achieve altitudes between 60,000 and 100,000 feet, and to remain at those altitudes for prolonged periods performing various mapping and surveillance activities. Addressed herein are studies which reveal the need for extremely light-weight and efficient solar cells, high-efficiency electric motor-driven propeller modules, and power management and distribution control elements. Since the potential payloads vary dramatically in their power consumption and duty cycles, a typical load profile has been selected to provide commonality for the propulsion power comparisons. Since missions vary widely with respect to ground coverage requirements, from repeated orbiting over a localized target to long-distance routes over irregular terrain, we have also averaged the power requirements for on-board guidance and control power, as well as ground control and communication link utilization. In the context of the national technology reinvestment program, wherever possible we modeled components and materials which have been qualified for space and defense applications, yet are compatible with civilian UAV activities. These include, but are not limited to, solar cell developments, electric storage technology for diurnal operation, local and ground communications, power management and distribution, and control servo design. And finally, the results of tests conducted by Wright Laboratory on ultralight, highly efficient MOCVD GaAs solar cells purchased from EPI Materials Ltd. (EML) of the UK are presented. These cells were also used for modeling the flight characteristics of UAV aircraft.

  20. Evaluation of Bare Ground on Rangelands using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Robert P. Breckenridge; Maxine Dakins

    2011-01-01

    Attention is currently being given to methods that assess the ecological condition of rangelands throughout the United States. There are a number of different indicators that assess ecological condition of rangelands. Bare Ground is being considered by a number of agencies and resource specialists as a lead indicator that can be evaluated over a broad area. Traditional methods of measuring bare ground rely on field technicians collecting data along a line transect or from a plot. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide an alternative to collecting field data, can monitor a large area in a relative short period of time, and in many cases can enhance safety and time required to collect data. In this study, both fixed wing and helicopter UAVs were used to measure bare ground in a sagebrush steppe ecosystem. The data were collected with digital imagery and read using the image analysis software SamplePoint. The approach was tested over seven different plots and compared against traditional field methods to evaluate accuracy for assessing bare ground. The field plots were located on the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site west of Idaho Falls, Idaho in locations where there is very little disturbance by humans and the area is grazed only by wildlife. The comparison of fixed-wing and helicopter UAV technology against field estimates shows good agreement for the measurement of bare ground. This study shows that if a high degree of detail and data accuracy is desired, then a helicopter UAV may be a good platform. If the data collection objective is to assess broad-scale landscape level changes, then the collection of imagery with a fixed-wing system is probably more appropriate.

  1. Photovoltaic electric power applied to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

    SciTech Connect

    Geis, J.; Arnold, J.H.

    1994-09-01

    Photovoltaic electric-powered flight is receiving a great deal of attention in the context of the United States` Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program. This paper addresses some of the enabling technical areas and their potential solutions. Of particular interest are the long-duration, high-altitude class of UAV`s whose mission it is to achieve altitudes between 60,000 and 100,000 feet, and to remain at those altitudes for prolonged periods performing various mapping and surveillance activities. Addressed herein are studies which reveal the need for extremely light-weight and efficient solar cells, high-efficiency electric motor-driven propeller modules, and power management and distribution control elements. Since the potential payloads vary dramatically in their power consumption and duty cycles, a typical load profile has been selected to provide commonality for the propulsion power comparisons. Since missions vary widely with respect to ground coverage requirements, from repeated orbiting over a localized target to long-distance routes over irregular terrain, the authors have also averaged the power requirements for on-board guidance and control power, as well as ground control and communication link utilization. In the context of the national technology reinvestment program, wherever possible they modeled components and materials which have been qualified for space and defense applications, yet are compatible with civilian UAV activities. These include, but are not limited to, solar cell developments, electric storage technology for diurnal operation, local and ground communications, power management and distribution, and control servo design. And finally, the results of tests conducted by Wright Laboratory on ultralight, highly efficient MOCVD GaAs solar cells purchased from EPI Materials Ltd. (EML) of the UK are presented. These cells were also used for modeling the flight characteristics of UAV aircraft.

  2. Photovoltaic electric power applied to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Geis, Jack; Arnold, Jack H.

    1994-01-01

    Photovoltaic electric-powered flight is receiving a great deal of attention in the context of the United States' Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) program. This paper addresses some of the enabling technical areas and their potential solutions. Of particular interest are the long-duration, high-altitude class of UAV's whose mission it is to achieve altitudes between 60,000 and 100,000 feet, and to remain at those altitudes for prolonged periods performing various mapping and surveillance activities. Addressed herein are studies which reveal the need for extremely light-weight and efficient solar cells, high-efficiency electric motor-driven propeller modules, and power management and distribution control elements. Since the potential payloads vary dramatically in their power consumption and duty cycles, a typical load profile has been selected to provide commonality for the propulsion power comparisons. Since missions vary widely with respect to ground coverage requirements, from repeated orbiting over a localized target to long-distance routes over irregular terrain, we have also averaged the power requirements for on-board guidance and control power, as well as ground control and communication link utilization. In the context of the national technology reinvestment program, wherever possible we modeled components and materials which have been qualified for space and defense applications, yet are compatible with civilian UAV activities. These include, but are not limited to, solar cell developments, electric storage technology for diurnal operation, local and ground communications, power management and distribution, and control servo design. And finally, the results of tests conducted by Wright Laboratory on ultralight, highly efficient MOCVD GaAs solar cells purchased from EPI Materials Ltd. (EML) of the UK are presented. These cells were also used for modeling the flight characteristics of UAV aircraft.

  3. Design, fabrication & performance analysis of an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khan, M. I.; Salam, M. A.; Afsar, M. R.; Huda, M. N.; Mahmud, T.

    2016-07-01

    An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle was designed, analyzed and fabricated to meet design requirements and perform the entire mission for an international aircraft design competition. The goal was to have a balanced design possessing, good demonstrated flight handling qualities, practical and affordable manufacturing requirements while providing a high vehicle performance. The UAV had to complete total three missions named ferry flight (1st mission), maximum load mission (2nd mission) and emergency medical mission (3rd mission). The requirement of ferry flight mission was to fly as many as laps as possible within 4 minutes. The maximum load mission consists of flying 3 laps while carrying two wooden blocks which simulate cargo. The requirement of emergency medical mission was complete 3 laps as soon as possible while carrying two attendances and two patients. A careful analysis revealed lowest rated aircraft cost (RAC) as the primary design objective. So, the challenge was to build an aircraft with minimum RAC that can fly fast, fly with maximum payload, and fly fast with all the possible configurations. The aircraft design was reached by first generating numerous design concepts capable of completing the mission requirements. In conceptual design phase, Figure of Merit (FOM) analysis was carried out to select initial aircraft configuration, propulsion, empennage and landing gear. After completion of the conceptual design, preliminary design was carried out. The preliminary design iterations had a low wing loading, high lift coefficient, and a high thrust to weight ratio. To make the aircraft capable of Rough Field Taxi; springs were added in the landing gears for absorbing shock. An airfoil shaped fuselage was designed to allowed sufficient space for payload and generate less drag to make the aircraft fly fast. The final design was a high wing monoplane with conventional tail, single tractor propulsion system and a tail dragger landing gear. Payload was stored in

  4. Structural design and fabrication techniques of composite unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hunt, Daniel Stephen

    Popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles has grown substantially in recent years both in the private sector, as well as for government functions. This growth can be attributed largely to the increased performance of the technology that controls these vehicles, as well as decreasing cost and size of this technology. What is sometimes forgotten though, is that the research and advancement of the airframes themselves are equally as important as what is done with them. With current computer-aided design programs, the limits of design optimization can be pushed further than ever before, resulting in lighter and faster airframes that can achieve longer endurances, higher altitudes, and more complex missions. However, realization of a paper design is still limited by the physical restrictions of the real world and the structural constraints associated with it. The purpose of this paper is to not only step through current design and manufacturing processes of composite UAVs at Oklahoma State University, but to also focus on composite spars, utilizing and relating both calculated and empirical data. Most of the experience gained for this thesis was from the Cessna Longitude project. The Longitude is a 1/8 scale, flying demonstrator Oklahoma State University constructed for Cessna. For the project, Cessna required dynamic flight data for their design process in order to make their 2017 release date. Oklahoma State University was privileged enough to assist Cessna with the mission of supporting the validation of design of their largest business jet to date. This paper will detail the steps of the fabrication process used in construction of the Longitude, as well as several other projects, beginning with structural design, machining, molding, skin layup, and ending with final assembly. Also, attention will be paid specifically towards spar design and testing in effort to ease the design phase. This document is intended to act not only as a further development of current

  5. Uncertainty management for aerial vehicles: Coordination, deconfliction, and disturbance rejection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Panyakeow, Prachya

    The presented dissertation aims to develop control algorithms that deal with three types of uncertainties managements. First, we examine the situation when unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) fly through uncertain environments that contain both stationary and moving obstacles. Moreover, a guarantee of collision avoidance is necessary when UAVs operate in close proximity of each other. Second, we look at the communication uncertainty among the network of cooperative UAVs and the efforts to establish and maintain the connectivity throughout their entire missions. Third, we explore the scenario when the aircraft flies through wind gust. The introduction of an appropriate control scheme to actively alleviate the gust loads can result into weight reduction and consequently lower the fuel cost. In the first part of this dissertation, we develop a deconfliction algorithm that guarantees collision avoidance between a pair of constant speed unicycle-type UAVs as well as convergence to the desired destination for each UAV in presence of static obstacles. We use a combination of navigation and swirling functions to direct the unicycle vehicles along the planned trajectories while avoiding inter-vehicle collisions. The main feature of our contribution is proposing means of designing a deconfliction algorithm for unicycle vehicles that more closely capture the dynamics of constant speed UAVs as opposed to double integrator models. Specifically, we consider the issue of UAV turn-rate constraints and proceed to explore the selection of key algorithmic parameters in order to minimize undesirable trajectories and overshoots induced by the avoidance algorithm. The avoidance and convergence analysis of the proposed algorithm is then performed for two cooperative UAVs and simulation results are provided to support the viability of the proposed framework for more general mission scenarios. For the uncertainty of the UAV network, we provides two approaches to establish connectivity among a

  6. Three-dimensional imaging applications in Earth Sciences using video data acquired from an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLeod, Tara

    For three dimensional (3D) aerial images, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are cheaper to operate and easier to fly than the typical manned craft mounted with a laser scanner. This project explores the feasibility of using 2D video images acquired with a UAV and transforming them into 3D point clouds. The Aeryon Scout -- a quad-copter micro UAV -- flew two missions: the first at York University Keele campus and the second at the Canadian Wollastonite Mine Property. Neptec's ViDAR software was used to extract 3D information from the 2D video using structure from motion. The resulting point clouds were sparsely populated, yet captured vegetation well. They were used successfully to measure fracture orientation in rock walls. Any improvement in the video resolution would cascade through the processing and improve the overall results.

  7. Assessment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Imagery for Quantitative Monitoring of Wheat Crop in Small Plots

    PubMed Central

    Lelong, Camille C. D.; Burger, Philippe; Jubelin, Guillaume; Roux, Bruno; Labbé, Sylvain; Baret, Frédéric

    2008-01-01

    This paper outlines how light Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) can be used in remote sensing for precision farming. It focuses on the combination of simple digital photographic cameras with spectral filters, designed to provide multispectral images in the visible and near-infrared domains. In 2005, these instruments were fitted to powered glider and parachute, and flown at six dates staggered over the crop season. We monitored ten varieties of wheat, grown in trial micro-plots in the South-West of France. For each date, we acquired multiple views in four spectral bands corresponding to blue, green, red, and near-infrared. We then performed accurate corrections of image vignetting, geometric distortions, and radiometric bidirectional effects. Afterwards, we derived for each experimental micro-plot several vegetation indexes relevant for vegetation analyses. Finally, we sought relationships between these indexes and field-measured biophysical parameters, both generic and date-specific. Therefore, we established a robust and stable generic relationship between, in one hand, leaf area index and NDVI and, in the other hand, nitrogen uptake and GNDVI. Due to a high amount of noise in the data, it was not possible to obtain a more accurate model for each date independently. A validation protocol showed that we could expect a precision level of 15% in the biophysical parameters estimation while using these relationships.

  8. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for monitoring glacial moulins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santagata, Tommaso

    2016-04-01

    The exploration of cavities on glaciers has always represented a fascinating activity that attracts scientists and researchers since many decades. Several explorations performed by speleologists and scientists since 1985 on the Gorner Gletscher (Mount Rosa group, SW Switzerland) have allowed to survey more than 40 endoglacial caves and some marginal tunnels of this glacier, which is the most interesting in the Alps for its supraglacial and englacial pseudo-karst forms. In recent years, the study of these caves has led to the distinction of two morphological and genetic types: marginal tunnels, that generally forms at the contact between ice and lateral moraine, and swallow holes (moulins) which are vertical shafts where a supraglacial stream sinks into the ice. During the first International glacier-caving camp organized in October 2014 as part of the project "Inside the glaciers" which had the main objective to explore the cavities of this glacier and to study the cryo-karstic processes that lead to the formation of deep shafts, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with camera and GPS system was used for the first time to perform photogrammetric surveys on three different areas. This technique allowed to derive detailed 3D models with very high resolution and accuracy of the entrance of the main moulins and other interesting parts of this glacier. Thanks to the acquisition of geo-referenced images and post-processing the acquired data (i.e. motion corrections), with the realized 3D point clouds and mesh models it was possible to obtain geo-referenced ortophoto and digital surface models which have been used to calculate contour lines and calculate the difference of position of the same moulins detected during the last years expeditions. Moreover, the data acquired have allowed to perform other different type of surface analysis and obtain an excellent photographic database that will surely be useful for further comparisons in future, proving the importance of

  9. Terrain mapping and control of unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kang, Yeonsik

    In this thesis, methods for terrain mapping and control of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are proposed. First, robust obstacle detection and tracking algorithm are introduced to eliminate the clutter noise uncorrelated with the real obstacle. This is an important problem since most types of sensor measurements are vulnerable to noise. In order to eliminate such noise, a Kalman filter-based interacting multiple model (IMM) algorithm is employed to effectively detect obstacles and estimate their positions precisely. Using the outcome of the IMM-based obstacle detection algorithm, a new method of building a probabilistic occupancy grid map is proposed based on Bayes rule in probability theory. Since the proposed map update law uses the outputs of the IMM-based obstacle detection algorithm, simultaneous tracking of moving targets and mapping of stationary obstacles are possible. This can be helpful especially in a noisy outdoor environment where different types of obstacles exist. Another feature of the algorithm is its capability to eliminate clutter noise as well as measurement noise. The proposed algorithm is simulated in Matlab using realistic sensor models. The results show close agreement with the layout of real obstacles. An efficient method called "quadtree" is used to process massive geographical information in a convenient manner. The algorithm is evaluated in a realistic simulation environment called RIPTIDE, which the NASA Ames Research Center developed to access the performance of complicated software for UAVs. Supposing that a UAV is equipped with abovementioned obstacle detection and mapping algorithm, the control problem of a small fixed-wing UAV is studied. A Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC is designed as a high level controller for the fixed-wing UAV using a kinematic model of the UAV. The kinematic model is employed because of the assumption that there exist low level controls on the UAV. The UAV dynamics are nonlinear with input

  10. Power Sources for Micro-Autonomous Vehicles- Challenges and Prospects

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Narayan, S. R.; Kisor, A.; Valdez, T. I.; Manohara, H.

    2009-01-01

    Micro-autonomous vehicle systems are expected to have expanded role in military missions by providing full spectrum intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support on the battlefield, suppression of enemy defenses, and enabling co-operative (swarm-like) configurations. Of the numerous demanding requirements of autonomy, sensing, navigation, mobility, etc., meeting the requirement of mission duration or endurance is a very challenging one. This requirement is demanding because of the constraints of mass and volume that limit the quantity of energy that can be stored on-board. Energy is required for mobility, payload operation, information processing, and communication. Mobility requirements typically place an extraordinary demand on the specific energy (Wh/kg) and specific power (W/kg) of the power source; the actual distribution of the energy between mobility and other system functions could vary substantially with the mission type. The power requirements for continuous mobility can vary from 100-1000 W/kg depending on the terrain, ground speed and flight speed. Even with the power source accounting for 30% of the mass of the vehicle, the best of rechargeable batteries can provide only up to 1-2 hours of run-time for a continuous power demand at 100W/kg. In the case of micro-aerial vehicles with flight speed requirements in the range of 5-15 m s-1, the mission times rarely exceed 20 minutes [2]. Further, the power required during take-off and hover can be twice or thrice that needed for steady level flight, and thus the number and sequence of such events is also limited by the mass and size of the power source. For operations such as "perch and stare" or "silent watch" the power demand is often only a tenth of that required during continuous flight. Thus, variation in power demand during various phases of the mission importantly affects the power source selection.

  11. Vehicle Detection of Aerial Image Using TV-L1 Texture Decomposition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Y.; Wang, G.; Li, Y.; Huang, Y.

    2016-06-01

    Vehicle detection from high-resolution aerial image facilitates the study of the public traveling behavior on a large scale. In the context of road, a simple and effective algorithm is proposed to extract the texture-salient vehicle among the pavement surface. Texturally speaking, the majority of pavement surface changes a little except for the neighborhood of vehicles and edges. Within a certain distance away from the given vector of the road network, the aerial image is decomposed into a smoothly-varying cartoon part and an oscillatory details of textural part. The variational model of Total Variation regularization term and L1 fidelity term (TV-L1) is adopted to obtain the salient texture of vehicles and the cartoon surface of pavement. To eliminate the noise of texture decomposition, regions of pavement surface are refined by seed growing and morphological operation. Based on the shape saliency analysis of the central objects in those regions, vehicles are detected as the objects of rectangular shape saliency. The proposed algorithm is tested with a diverse set of aerial images that are acquired at various resolution and scenarios around China. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm can detect vehicles at the rate of 71.5% and the false alarm rate of 21.5%, and that the speed is 39.13 seconds for a 4656 x 3496 aerial image. It is promising for large-scale transportation management and planning.

  12. Hardware Implementation of COTS Avionics System on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yeh, Yoo-Hsiu; Kumar, Parth; Ishihara, Abraham; Ippolito, Corey

    2010-01-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can serve as low cost and low risk platforms for flight testing in Aeronautics research. The NASA Exploration Aerial Vehicle (EAV) and Experimental Sensor-Controlled Aerial Vehicle (X-SCAV) UAVs were developed in support of control systems research at NASA Ames Research Center. The avionics hardware for both systems has been redesigned and updated, and the structure of the EAV has been further strengthened. Preliminary tests show the avionics operate properly in the new configuration. A linear model for the EAV also was estimated from flight data, and was verified in simulation. These modifications and results prepare the EAV and X-SCAV to be used in a wide variety of flight research projects.

  13. Efficient pedestrian detection from aerial vehicles with object proposals and deep convolutional neural networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Minnehan, Breton; Savakis, Andreas

    2016-05-01

    As Unmanned Aerial Systems grow in numbers, pedestrian detection from aerial platforms is becoming a topic of increasing importance. By providing greater contextual information and a reduced potential for occlusion, the aerial vantage point provided by Unmanned Aerial Systems is highly advantageous for many surveillance applications, such as target detection, tracking, and action recognition. However, due to the greater distance between the camera and scene, targets of interest in aerial imagery are generally smaller and have less detail. Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN's) have demonstrated excellent object classification performance and in this paper we adopt them to the problem of pedestrian detection from aerial platforms. We train a CNN with five layers consisting of three convolution-pooling layers and two fully connected layers. We also address the computational inefficiencies of the sliding window method for object detection. In the sliding window configuration, a very large number of candidate patches are generated from each frame, while only a small number of them contain pedestrians. We utilize the Edge Box object proposal generation method to screen candidate patches based on an "objectness" criterion, so that only regions that are likely to contain objects are processed. This method significantly reduces the number of image patches processed by the neural network and makes our classification method very efficient. The resulting two-stage system is a good candidate for real-time implementation onboard modern aerial vehicles. Furthermore, testing on three datasets confirmed that our system offers high detection accuracy for terrestrial pedestrian detection in aerial imagery.

  14. Mapping Crop Status from AN Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Precision Agriculture Applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guo, T.; Kujirai, T.; Watanabe, T.

    2012-07-01

    Remote sensing system mounted on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could provide a complementary means to the conventional satellite and aerial remote sensing solutions especially for the applications of precision agriculture. UAV remote sensing offers a great flexibility to quickly acquire field data in sufficient spatial and spectral resolution at low cost. However a major problem of UAV is the high instability due to the low-end equipments and difficult environment situation, and this leads to image sensor being mostly operated under a highly uncertain configuration. Thus UAV images exhibit considerable derivation in spatial orientation, large geometric and spectral distortion, and low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). To achieve the objectives of agricultural mapping from UAV, we apply a micro-helicopter UAV with a multiple spectral camera mounted and develop a framework to process UAV images. A very important processing is to generate mosaic image which can be aligned with maps for later GIS integration. With appropriate geometric calibration applied, we first decompose a homography of consecutive image pairs into a rotational component and a simple perspective component, and apply a linear interpolation to the angle of the rotational component, followed by a linear matrix interpolation operator to the perspective component, and this results in an equivalent transformation but ensures a smooth evolution between two images. Lastly to demonstrate the potential of UAV images to precision agriculture application, we perform spectral processing to derive vegetation indices (VIs) maps of crop, and also show the comparison with satellite imagery. Through this paper, we demonstrate that it is highly feasible to generate quantitative mapping products such as crop stress maps from UAV images, and suggest that UAV remote sensing is very valuable for the applications of precision agriculture.

  15. The feasibility of unmanned aerial vehicle-based acoustic atmospheric tomography.

    PubMed

    Finn, Anthony; Rogers, Kevin

    2015-08-01

    A technique for remotely monitoring the near-surface air temperature and wind fields up to altitudes of 1 km is presented and examined. The technique proposes the measurement of sound spectra emitted by the engine of a small unmanned aerial vehicle using sensors located on the aircraft and the ground. By relating projected and observed Doppler shifts in frequency and converting them into effective sound speed values, two- and three-dimensional spatially varying atmospheric temperature and wind velocity fields may be reconstructed using tomography. The feasibility and usefulness of the technique relative to existing unmanned aerial vehicle-based meteorological techniques using simulation and trials is examined. PMID:26328703

  16. New Concepts and Perspectives on Micro-Rotorcraft and Small Autonomous Rotary-Wing Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Larry A.; Aiken, E. W.; Johnson, J. L.; Demblewski, R.; Andrews, J.; Aiken, Irwin W. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    A key part of the strategic vision for rotorcraft research as identified by senior technologists within the Army/NASA Rotorcraft Division at NASA Ames Research Center is the development and use of small autonomous rotorcraft. Small autonomous rotorcraft are defined for the purposes of this paper to be a class of vehicles that range in size from rotary-wing micro air vehicles (MAVs) to larger, more conventionally sized, rotorcraft uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) - i.e. vehicle gross weights ranging from hundreds of grams to thousands of kilograms. The development of small autonomous rotorcraft represents both a technology challenge and a potential new vehicle class that will have substantial societal impact for: national security, personal transport, planetary science, and public service.

  17. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): a new tool in counterterrorism operations?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dörtbudak, Mehmet F.

    2015-05-01

    Terrorism is not a new phenomenon to the world, yet it remains difficult to define and counter. Countering terrorism requires several measures that must be taken simultaneously; however, counterterrorism strategies of many countries mostly depend on military measures. In the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the United States (U.S.) has started and led the campaign of Global War on Terrorism. They have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and have encountered insurgencies run by terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaeda and its affiliates. The U.S. made the utilization of Air and Space Power very intensively during these operations. In order to implement operations; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets were used to collect the necessary information. Before the successful insertion of a small number of U.S. Special Operation Force (SOF) teams into Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force attacked al-Qaeda and Taliban's targets such as infrastructure, airfields, ground forces, command-control facilities etc. As soon as the U.S. troops got on the ground and started to marshal to Kabul, the Air Force supported them by attacking jointly determined targets. The Air Force continued to carry out the missions and played a significant role to achieve the objective of operation during all the time. This is not the only example of utilization of Air and Space Power in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. All around the world, many countries have also made the utilization of Air Power in different missions ranging from ISR to attacking. Thinking that terrorism has a psychological dimension and losing a pilot during operations may result in decreasing the population support to operations, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) started to be used by practitioners and took priority over other assets. Although UAVs have been on the theatre for a long time used for ISR mission in conventional conflicts, with the advent

  18. Measuring orthometric water heights from lightweight Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bandini, Filippo; Olesen, Daniel; Jakobsen, Jakob; Reyna-Gutierrez, Jose Antonio; Bauer-Gottwein, Peter

    2016-04-01

    A better quantitative understanding of hydrologic processes requires better observations of hydrological variables, such as surface water area, water surface level, its slope and its temporal change. However, ground-based measurements of water heights are restricted to the in-situ measuring stations. Hence, the objective of remote sensing hydrology is to retrieve these hydraulic variables from spaceborne and airborne platforms. The forthcoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission will be able to acquire water heights with an expected accuracy of 10 centimeters for rivers that are at least 100 m wide. Nevertheless, spaceborne missions will always face the limitations of: i) a low spatial resolution which makes it difficult to separate water from interfering surrounding areas and a tracking of the terrestrial water bodies not able to detect water heights in small rivers or lakes; ii) a limited temporal resolution which limits the ability to determine rapid temporal changes, especially during extremes. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are one technology able to fill the gap between spaceborne and ground-based observations, ensuring 1) high spatial resolution; 2) tracking of the water bodies better than any satellite technology; 3) timing of the sampling which only depends on the operator 4) flexibility of the payload. Hence, this study focused on categorizing and testing sensors capable of measuring the range between the UAV and the water surface. The orthometric height of the water surface is then retrieved by subtracting the height above water measured by the sensors from the altitude above sea level retrieved by the onboard GPS. The following sensors were tested: a) a radar, b) a sonar c) a laser digital-camera based prototype developed at Technical University of Denmark. The tested sensors comply with the weight constraint of small UAVs (around 1.5 kg). The sensors were evaluated in terms of accuracy, maximum ranging distance and beam

  19. Feasibility of Turing-Style Tests for Autonomous Aerial Vehicle "Intelligence"

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Larry A.

    2007-01-01

    A new approach is suggested to define and evaluate key metrics as to autonomous aerial vehicle performance. This approach entails the conceptual definition of a "Turing Test" for UAVs. Such a "UAV Turing test" would be conducted by means of mission simulations and/or tailored flight demonstrations of vehicles under the guidance of their autonomous system software. These autonomous vehicle mission simulations and flight demonstrations would also have to be benchmarked against missions "flown" with pilots/human-operators in the loop. In turn, scoring criteria for such testing could be based upon both quantitative mission success metrics (unique to each mission) and by turning to analog "handling quality" metrics similar to the well-known Cooper-Harper pilot ratings used for manned aircraft. Autonomous aerial vehicles would be considered to have successfully passed this "UAV Turing Test" if the aggregate mission success metrics and handling qualities for the autonomous aerial vehicle matched or exceeded the equivalent metrics for missions conducted with pilots/human-operators in the loop. Alternatively, an independent, knowledgeable observer could provide the "UAV Turing Test" ratings of whether a vehicle is autonomous or "piloted." This observer ideally would, in the more sophisticated mission simulations, also have the enhanced capability of being able to override the scripted mission scenario and instigate failure modes and change of flight profile/plans. If a majority of mission tasks are rated as "piloted" by the observer, when in reality the vehicle/simulation is fully- or semi- autonomously controlled, then the vehicle/simulation "passes" the "UAV Turing Test." In this regards, this second "UAV Turing Test" approach is more consistent with Turing s original "imitation game" proposal. The overall feasibility, and important considerations and limitations, of such an approach for judging/evaluating autonomous aerial vehicle "intelligence" will be discussed from a

  20. Enabling high-quality observations of surface imperviousness for water runoff modelling from unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tokarczyk, Piotr; Leitao, Joao Paulo; Rieckermann, Jörg; Schindler, Konrad; Blumensaat, Frank

    2015-04-01

    Modelling rainfall-runoff in urban areas is increasingly applied to support flood risk assessment particularly against the background of a changing climate and an increasing urbanization. These models typically rely on high-quality data for rainfall and surface characteristics of the area. While recent research in urban drainage has been focusing on providing spatially detailed rainfall data, the technological advances in remote sensing that ease the acquisition of detailed land-use information are less prominently discussed within the community. The relevance of such methods increase as in many parts of the globe, accurate land-use information is generally lacking, because detailed image data is unavailable. Modern unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) allow acquiring high-resolution images on a local level at comparably lower cost, performing on-demand repetitive measurements, and obtaining a degree of detail tailored for the purpose of the study. In this study, we investigate for the first time the possibility to derive high-resolution imperviousness maps for urban areas from UAV imagery and to use this information as input for urban drainage models. To do so, an automatic processing pipeline with a modern classification method is tested and applied in a state-of-the-art urban drainage modelling exercise. In a real-life case study in the area of Lucerne, Switzerland, we compare imperviousness maps generated from a consumer micro-UAV and standard large-format aerial images acquired by the Swiss national mapping agency (swisstopo). After assessing their correctness, we perform an end-to-end comparison, in which they are used as an input for an urban drainage model. Then, we evaluate the influence which different image data sources and their processing methods have on hydrological and hydraulic model performance. We analyze the surface runoff of the 307 individual sub-catchments regarding relevant attributes, such as peak runoff and volume. Finally, we evaluate the model

  1. Control and navigation system for a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhai, Ruiyong; Zhou, Zhaoying; Zhang, Wendong; Sang, Shengbo; Li, Pengwei

    2014-03-01

    This paper presents a flight control and navigation system for a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with low-cost micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensors. The system is designed under the inner loop and outer loop strategy. The trajectory tracking navigation loop is the outer loop of the attitude loop, while the attitude control loop is the outer loop of the stabilization loop. The proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control was adopted for stabilization and attitude control. The three-dimensional (3D) trajectory tracking control of a UAV could be approximately divided into lateral control and longitudinal control. The longitudinal control employs traditional linear PID feedback to achieve the desired altitude of the UAV, while the lateral control uses a non-linear control method to complete the desired trajectory. The non-linear controller can automatically adapt to ground velocity change, which is usually caused by gust disturbance, thus the UAV has good wind resistance characteristics. Flight tests and survey missions were carried out with our self-developed delta fixed-wing UAV and MEMS-based autopilot to confirm the effectiveness and practicality of the proposed navigation method.

  2. Beach monitoring using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: results of a multi-temporal study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Casella, Elisa; Rovere, Alessio; Casella, Marco; Pedroncini, Andrea; Ferrari, Marco; Vacchi, Matteo; Firpo, Marco

    2015-04-01

    The application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and photogrammetry techniques in earth sciences is flourishing. In this study, we show how we applied small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to the study of topographic changes of a beach in Italy, NW Mediterranean Sea. We surveyed the same stretch of coastline three times in 5 months, obtaining ortophotos and digital elevation models of the beach using a structure from motion approach. We then calculated the difference in beach topography between each time step, and we related topography changes to both human and natural modifications of the beach morphology that can be inferred from aerial photos or wave data. We conclude that small drones have the potential to open new possibilities for beach monitoring studies, and can be successfully employed for multi-temporal monitoring studies at relatively low cost.

  3. Development of a PWM precision spraying controller for unmanned aerial vehicles

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This paper presents a new pulse width modulation (PWM) controller for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) precision sprayer for agriculture using a TL494 fix-frequency pulse width modulator together with a data acquisition board and developed software. The PWM controller was implemented through the guidan...

  4. Airborne Wireless Optical Communication System in Low Altitude Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and LEDs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kong, Meiwei; Tong, Zheng; Yu, Xiangyu; Song, Yuhang; Lin, Aobo; Xu, Jing

    2016-02-01

    In this paper, we demonstrate the feasibility of airborne wireless optical communication system using an unmanned aerial vehicle and LEDs. Monte Carlo simulation method is used to evaluate the performance of the communication channel. Considering OOK modulation, we illustrate how the BER performance is affected by the link distance, the divergence angel and the deflection angel of the light source.

  5. Texture and scale in object-based analysis of subdecimeter resolution unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Imagery acquired with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has great potential for incorporation into natural resource monitoring protocols due to their ability to be deployed quickly and repeatedly and to fly at low altitudes. While the imagery may have high spatial resolution, the spectral resolution i...

  6. Application of high resolution images from unmanned aerial vehicles for hydrology and range science

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A common problem in many natural resource disciplines is the lack of high-enough spatial resolution images that can be used for monitoring and modeling purposes. Advances have been made in the utilization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in hydrology and rangeland science. By utilizing low fligh...

  7. Unmanned aerial vehicle: A unique platform for low-altitude remote sensing for crop management

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) provide a unique platform for remote sensing to monitor crop fields that complements remote sensing from satellite, aircraft and ground-based platforms. The UAV-based remote sensing is versatile at ultra-low altitude to be able to provide an ultra-high-resolution imag...

  8. Acquisition, orthorectification, and object-based classification of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery for rangeland monitoring

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In this paper, we examine the potential of using a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for rangeland inventory, assessment and monitoring. Imagery with 8-cm resolution was acquired over 290 ha in southwestern Idaho. We developed a semi-automated orthorectification procedure suitable for handling lar...

  9. Rangeland resource assessment, monitoring, and management using unmanned aerial vehicle-based remote sensing

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Civilian applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have rapidly been expanding recently. Thanks to military development many civil UAVs come via the defense sector. Although numerous UAVs can perform civilian tasks, the regulations imposed by FAA in the national airspace system and military e...

  10. Survey on the novel hybrid aquatic-aerial amphibious aircraft: Aquatic unmanned aerial vehicle (AquaUAV)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Xingbang; Wang, Tianmiao; Liang, Jianhong; Yao, Guocai; Liu, Miao

    2015-04-01

    The aquatic unmanned aerial vehicle (AquaUAV), a kind of vehicle that can operate both in the air and the water, has been regarded as a new breakthrough to broaden the application scenario of UAV. Wide application prospects in military and civil field are more than bright, therefore many institutions have focused on the development of such a vehicle. However, due to the significant difference of the physical properties between the air and the water, it is rather difficult to design a fully-featured AquaUAV. Until now, majority of partially-featured AquaUAVs have been developed and used to verify the feasibility of an aquatic-aerial vehicle. In the present work, we classify the current partially-featured AquaUAV into three categories from the scope of the whole UAV field, i.e., the seaplane UAV, the submarine-launched UAV, and the submersible UAV. Then the recent advancements and common characteristics of the three kinds of AquaUAVs are reviewed in detail respectively. Then the applications of bionics in the design of AquaUAV, the transition mode between the air and the water, the morphing wing structure for air-water adaptation, and the power source and the propulsion type are summarized and discussed. The tradeoff analyses for different transition methods between the air and the water are presented. Furthermore, it indicates that applying the bionics into the design and development of the AquaUAV will be essential and significant. Finally, the significant technical challenges for the AquaUAV to change from a conception to a practical prototype are indicated.

  11. Assessment of Photogrammetric Mapping Accuracy Based on Variation Flying Altitude Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Udin, W. S.; Ahmad, A.

    2014-02-01

    Photogrammetry is the earliest technique used to collect data for topographic mapping. The recent development in aerial photogrammetry is the used of large format digital aerial camera for producing topographic map. The aerial photograph can be in the form of metric or non-metric imagery. The cost of mapping using aerial photogrammetry is very expensive. In certain application, there is a need to map small area with limited budget. Due to the development of technology, small format aerial photogrammetry technology has been introduced and offers many advantages. Currently, digital map can be extracted from digital aerial imagery of small format camera mounted on light weight platform such as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This study utilizes UAV system for large scale stream mapping. The first objective of this study is to investigate the use of light weight rotary-wing UAV for stream mapping based on different flying height. Aerial photograph were acquired at 60% forward lap and 30% sidelap specifications. Ground control points and check points were established using Total Station technique. The digital camera attached to the UAV was calibrated and the recovered camera calibration parameters were then used in the digital images processing. The second objective is to determine the accuracy of the photogrammetric output. In this study, the photogrammetric output such as stereomodel in three dimensional (3D), contour lines, digital elevation model (DEM) and orthophoto were produced from a small stream of 200m long and 10m width. The research output is evaluated for planimetry and vertical accuracy using root mean square error (RMSE). Based on the finding, sub-meter accuracy is achieved and the RMSE value decreases as the flying height increases. The difference is relatively small. Finally, this study shows that UAV is very useful platform for obtaining aerial photograph and subsequently used for photogrammetric mapping and other applications.

  12. Action cameras and low-cost aerial vehicles in archaeology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ballarin, M.; Balletti, C.; Guerra, F.

    2015-05-01

    This research is focused on the analysis of the potential of a close range aerial photogrammetry system, which is accessible both in economic terms and in terms of simplicity of use. In particular the Go Pro Hero3 Black Edition and the Parrot Ar. Drone 2.0 were studied. There are essentially two limitations to the system and they were found for both the instruments used. Indeed, the frames captured by the Go Pro are subject to great distortion and consequently pose numerous calibration problems. On the other hand, the limitation of the system lies in the difficulty of maintaining a flight configuration suitable for photogrammetric purposes in unfavourable environmental conditions. The aim of this research is to analyse how far the limitations highlighted can influence the precision of the survey and consequent quality of the results obtained. To this end, the integrated GoPro and Parrot system was used during a survey campaign on the Altilia archaeological site, in Molise. The data obtained was compared with that gathered by more traditional methods, such as the laser scanner. The system was employed in the field of archaeology because here the question of cost often has a considerable importance and the metric aspect is frequently subordinate to the qualitative and interpretative aspects. Herein one of the products of these systems; the orthophoto will be analysed, which is particularly useful in archaeology, especially in situations such as this dig in which there aren't many structures in elevation present. The system proposed has proven to be an accessible solution for producing an aerial documentation, which adds the excellent quality of the result to metric data for which the precision is known.

  13. Aerial Vehicle Surveys of other Planetary Atmospheres and Surfaces: Imaging, Remote-sensing, and Autonomy Technology Requirements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Larry A.; Pisanich, Gregory; Ippolito, Corey; Alena, Rick

    2005-01-01

    The objective of this paper is to review the anticipated imaging and remote-sensing technology requirements for aerial vehicle survey missions to other planetary bodies in our Solar system that can support in-atmosphere flight. In the not too distant future such planetary aerial vehicle (a.k.a. aerial explorers) exploration missions will become feasible. Imaging and remote-sensing observations will be a key objective for these missions. Accordingly, it is imperative that optimal solutions in terms of imaging acquisition and real-time autonomous analysis of image data sets be developed for such vehicles.

  14. Insect-Inspired Flight Control for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thakoor, Sarita; Stange, G.; Srinivasan, M.; Chahl, Javaan; Hine, Butler; Zornetzer, Steven

    2005-01-01

    Flight-control and navigation systems inspired by the structure and function of the visual system and brain of insects have been proposed for a class of developmental miniature robotic aircraft called "biomorphic flyers" described earlier in "Development of Biomorphic Flyers" (NPO-30554), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 11 (November 2004), page 54. These form a subset of biomorphic explorers, which, as reported in several articles in past issues of NASA Tech Briefs ["Biomorphic Explorers" (NPO-20142), Vol. 22, No. 9 (September 1998), page 71; "Bio-Inspired Engineering of Exploration Systems" (NPO-21142), Vol. 27, No. 5 (May 2003), page 54; and "Cooperative Lander-Surface/Aerial Microflyer Missions for Mars Exploration" (NPO-30286), Vol. 28, No. 5 (May 2004), page 36], are proposed small robots, equipped with microsensors and communication systems, that would incorporate crucial functions of mobility, adaptability, and even cooperative behavior. These functions are inherent to biological organisms but are challenging frontiers for technical systems. Biomorphic flyers could be used on Earth or remote planets to explore otherwise difficult or impossible to reach sites. An example of an exploratory task of search/surveillance functions currently being tested is to obtain high-resolution aerial imagery, using a variety of miniaturized electronic cameras. The control functions to be implemented by the systems in development include holding altitude, avoiding hazards, following terrain, navigation by reference to recognizable terrain features, stabilization of flight, and smooth landing. Flying insects perform these and other functions remarkably well, even though insect brains contains fewer than 10(exp -4) as many neurons as does the human brain. Although most insects have immobile, fixed-focus eyes and lack stereoscopy (and hence cannot perceive depth directly), they utilize a number of ingenious strategies for perceiving, and navigating in, three dimensions. Despite

  15. A Precise Position and Attitude Determination System for Lightweight Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eling, C.; Klingbeil, L.; Wieland, M.; Kuhlmann, H.

    2013-08-01

    In many unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications a direct georeferencing is required. The reason can be that the UAV flies autonomous and must be navigated precisely, or that the UAV performs a remote sensing operation, where the position of the camera has to be known at the moment of the recording. In our application, a project called Mapping on Demand, we are motivated by both of these reasons. The goal of this project is to develop a lightweight autonomously flying UAV that is able to identify and measure inaccessible three-dimensional objects by use of visual information. Due to payload and space limitations, precise position and attitude determination of micro- and mini-sized UAVs is very challenging. The limitations do not only affect the onboard computing capacity, but they are also noticeable when choosing the georeferencing sensors. In this article, we will present a new developed onboard direct georeferencing system which is real-time capable, applicable for lightweight UAVs and provides very precise results (position accuracy σ < 5 cm and attitude accuracy σ < 0.5 deg). In this system GPS, inertial sensors, magnetic field sensors, a barometer as well as stereo video cameras are used as georeferencing sensors. We will describe the hardware development and will go into details of the implemented software. In this context especially the RTK-GPS software and the concept of the attitude determination by use of inertial sensors, magnetic field sensors as well as an onboard GPS baseline will be highlighted. Finally, results of first field tests as well as an outlook on further developments will conclude this contribution.

  16. First results for an image processing workflow for hyperspatial imagery acquired with a low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Very high-resolution images from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have great potential for use in rangeland monitoring and assessment, because the imagery fills the gap between ground-based observations and remotely sensed imagery from aerial or satellite sensors. However, because UAV imagery is ofte...

  17. A procedure for orthorectification of sub-decimeter resolution imagery obtained with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Digital aerial photography acquired with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has great value for resource management due to the flexibility and relatively low cost for image acquisition, and very high resolution imagery (5 cm) which allows for mapping bare soil and vegetation types, structure and patter...

  18. Mechanization and Control Concepts for Biologically Inspired Micro Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raney, David L.; Slominski, Eric C.

    2003-01-01

    It is possible that MAV designs of the future will exploit flapping flight in order to perform missions that require extreme agility, such as rapid flight beneath a forest canopy or within the confines of a building. Many of nature's most agile flyers generate flapping motions through resonant excitation of an aeroelastically tailored structure: muscle tissue is used to excite a vibratory mode of their flexible wing structure that creates propulsion and lift. A number of MAV concepts have been proposed that would operate in a similar fashion. This paper describes an ongoing research activity in which mechanization and control concepts with application to resonant flapping MAVs are being explored. Structural approaches, mechanical design, sensing and wingbeat control concepts inspired by hummingbirds, bats and insects are examined. Experimental results from a testbed capable of generating vibratory wingbeat patterns that approximately match those exhibited by hummingbirds in hover, cruise, and reverse flight are presented.

  19. Use of Acoustic Wind Profilers for Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Flight Test Activities

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Donnohue, Casey J.; Underwood, Ken; Bellue, Dan G.

    2001-01-01

    Sonic detection and ranging (SODAR) systems provide crucial information to meteorologists for advising uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) flight crews and mission directors on historical, current, and forecasted wind and turbulence conditions. The SODAR system provided advanced warning of increasing surface winds for an X-38 flight on February 6, 1999. The SODAR system has also provided important postflight data for X-38 engineers to review the performance of the parafoil in the presence of strong wind shears near the surface at landing.

  20. High-resolution Brillouin analysis in a carbon-fiber-composite unmanned aerial vehicle model wing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stern, Yonatan; London, Yosef; Preter, Eyal; Antman, Yair; Shlomi, Orel; Silbiger, Maayan; Adler, Gadi; Zadok, Avi

    2016-05-01

    Standard optical fibers are successfully embedded within a model wing of an unmanned aerial vehicle, constructed of carbon fiber and epoxy, during its production. Time-gated Brillouin optical correlation domain analysis along the embedded optical fibers is performed with a spatial resolution of 4 cm. Tests were carried out using a portable measurement setup prototype. The results represent an important step towards applications of high-resolution Brillouin analysis outside the research laboratory.

  1. Load tracking and structural health monitoring of unmanned aerial vehicles using optical fiber sensors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Handelman, A.; Botsev, Y.; Balter, J.; Gud's, P.; Kressel, I.; Tur, M.; Gali, S.; Pillai, A. C. R.; Hari Prasad, M.; Yadav, A. Kumar; Gupta, Nitesh; Sathya, Sakthi; Sundaram, Ramesh

    2011-08-01

    An airborne, high resolution, load tracking and structural health monitoring system for unmanned aerial vehicles is presented. The system is based on embedded optical fiber Bragg sensors interrogated in real time during flight at 2.5 kHz. By analyzing the recorded vibration signature it is now possible to identify and trace the dynamic response of an airborne structure and track its loads.

  2. Load tracking and structural health monitoring of unmanned aerial vehicles using optical fiber sensors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Handelman, A.; Botsev, Y.; Balter, J.; Gud'S, P.; Kressel, I.; Tur, M.; Gali, S.; Pillai, A. C. R.; Hari Prasad, M.; Yadav, A. Kumar; Gupta, Nitesh; Sathya, Sakthi; Sundaram, Ramesh

    2010-12-01

    An airborne, high resolution, load tracking and structural health monitoring system for unmanned aerial vehicles is presented. The system is based on embedded optical fiber Bragg sensors interrogated in real time during flight at 2.5 kHz. By analyzing the recorded vibration signature it is now possible to identify and trace the dynamic response of an airborne structure and track its loads.

  3. Human Systems Integration and Automation Issues in Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McCauley, Michael E.; Matsangas, Panagiotis

    2004-01-01

    The goal of this report is to identify Human System Integration (HSI) and automation issues that contribute to improved effectiveness and efficiency in the operation of U.S. military Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAVs). HSI issues relevant to SUAV operations are reviewed and observations from field trials are summarized. Short-term improvements are suggested research issues are identified and an overview is provided of automation technologies applicable to future SUAV design.

  4. Lead-acid batteries in micro-hybrid vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Albers, Joern; Meissner, Eberhard; Shirazi, Sepehr

    More and more vehicles hit the European automotive market, which comprise some type of micro-hybrid functionality to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Most carmakers already offer at least one of their vehicles with an optional engine start/stop system, while some other models are sold with micro-hybrid functions implemented by default. But these car concepts show a wide variety in detail-the term "micro-hybrid" may mean a completely different functionality in one vehicle model compared to another. Accordingly, also the battery technologies are not the same. There is a wide variety of batteries from standard flooded and enhanced flooded to AGM which all are claimed to be "best choice" for micro-hybrid applications. A technical comparison of micro-hybrid cars available on the European market has been performed. Different classes of cars with different characteristics have been identified. Depending on the scope and characteristics of micro-hybrid functions, as well as on operational strategies implemented by the vehicle makers, the battery operating duties differ significantly between these classes of vehicles. Additional laboratory investigations have been carried out to develop an understanding of effects observed in batteries operated in micro-hybrid vehicles pursuing different strategies, to identify limitations for applications of different battery technologies.

  5. The Potential of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Large Scale Mapping of Coastal Area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darwin, N.; Ahmad, A.; Zainon, O.

    2014-02-01

    Many countries in the tropical region are covered with cloud for most of the time, hence, it is difficult to get clear images especially from high resolution satellite imagery. Aerial photogrammetry can be used but most of the time the cloud problem still exists. Today, this problem could be solved using a system known as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) where the aerial images can be acquired at low altitude and the system can fly under the cloud. The UAV system could be used in various applications including mapping coastal area. The UAV system is equipped with an autopilot system and automatic method known as autonomous flying that can be utilized for data acquisition. To achieve high resolution imagery, a compact digital camera of high resolution was used to acquire the aerial images at an altitude. In this study, the UAV system was employed to acquire aerial images of a coastal simulation model at low altitude. From the aerial images, photogrammetric image processing was executed to produce photogrammetric outputs such a digital elevation model (DEM), contour line and orthophoto. In this study, ground control point (GCP) and check point (CP) were established using conventional ground surveying method (i.e total station). The GCP is used for exterior orientation in photogrammetric processes and CP for accuracy assessment based on Root Mean Square Error (RMSE). From this study, it was found that the UAV system can be used for large scale mapping of coastal simulation model with accuracy at millimeter level. It is anticipated that the same system could be used for large scale mapping of real coastal area and produces good accuracy. Finally, the UAV system has great potential to be used for various applications that require accurate results or products at limited time and less man power.

  6. Fault detection and multiclassifier fusion for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yan, Weizhong

    2001-03-01

    UAVs demand more accurate fault accommodation for their mission manager and vehicle control system in order to achieve a reliability level that is comparable to that of a pilot aircraft. This paper attempts to apply multi-classifier fusion techniques to achieve the necessary performance of the fault detection function for the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works (LMSW) UAV Mission Manager. Three different classifiers that meet the design requirements of the fault detection of the UAAV are employed. The binary decision outputs from the classifiers are then aggregated using three different classifier fusion schemes, namely, majority vote, weighted majority vote, and Naieve Bayes combination. All of the three schemes are simple and need no retraining. The three fusion schemes (except the majority vote that gives an average performance of the three classifiers) show the classification performance that is better than or equal to that of the best individual. The unavoidable correlation between the classifiers with binary outputs is observed in this study. We conclude that it is the correlation between the classifiers that limits the fusion schemes to achieve an even better performance.

  7. Detecting lost persons using the k-mean method applied to aerial photographs taken by unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niedzielski, Tomasz; Stec, Magdalena; Wieczorek, Malgorzata; Slopek, Jacek; Jurecka, Miroslawa

    2016-04-01

    The objective of this work is to discuss the usefulness of the k-mean method in the process of detecting persons on oblique aerial photographs acquired by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The detection based on the k-mean procedure belongs to one of the modules of a larger Search and Rescue (SAR) system which is being developed at the University of Wroclaw, Poland (research project no. IP2014 032773 financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Poland). The module automatically processes individual geotagged visual-light UAV-taken photographs or their orthorectified versions. Firstly, we separate red (R), green (G) and blue (B) channels, express raster data as numeric matrices and acquire coordinates of centres of images using the exchangeable image file format (EXIF). Subsequently, we divide the matrices into matrices of smaller dimensions, the latter being associated with the size of spatial window which is suitable for discriminating between human and terrain. Each triplet of the smaller matrices (R, G and B) serves as input spatial data for the k-mean classification. We found that, in several configurations of the k-mean parameters, it is possible to distinguish a separate class which characterizes a person. We compare the skills of this approach by performing two experiments, based on UAV-taken RGB photographs and their orthorectified versions. This allows us to verify the hypothesis that the two exercises lead to similar classifications. In addition, we discuss the performance of the approach for dissimilar spatial windows, hence various dimensions of the above-mentioned matrices, and we do so in order to find the one which offers the most adequate classification. The numerical experiment is carried out using the data acquired during a dedicated observational UAV campaign carried out in the Izerskie Mountains (SW Poland).

  8. Gust Mitigation of Micro Air Vehicles Using Passive Articulated Wings

    PubMed Central

    Slegers, Nathan

    2014-01-01

    Birds and insects naturally use passive flexing of their wings to augment their stability in uncertain aerodynamic environments. In a similar manner, micro air vehicle designers have been investigating using wing articulation to take advantage of this phenomenon. The result is a class of articulated micro air vehicles where artificial passive joints are designed into the lifting surfaces. In order to analyze how passive articulation affects performance of micro air vehicles in gusty environments, an efficient 8 degree-of-freedom model is developed. Experimental validation of the proposed mathematical model was accomplished using flight test data of an articulated micro air vehicle obtained from a high resolution indoor tracking facility. Analytical investigation of the gust alleviation properties of the articulated micro air vehicle model was carried out using simulations with varying crosswind gust magnitudes. Simulations show that passive articulation in micro air vehicles can increase their robustness to gusts within a range of joint compliance. It is also shown that if articulation joints are made too compliant that gust mitigation performance is degraded when compared to a rigid system. PMID:24516368

  9. An intelligent algorithm for unmanned aerial vehicle surveillance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhargave, Ashish; Ambrose, Barry; Lin, Freddie; Kazantzidis, Manthos

    2007-04-01

    An intelligent swarm-based guidance and path planning algorithm for the Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAV) provides the ability to efficiently carry out grid surveillance, taking into account specific UAV constraints such as maximum speed, maximum flight time and battery re-charging intervals to allow for continuous surveillance. The swarm-based flight planning is based on enhancements of distributed computing concepts that have been developed for NASA's launch danger zone protection. The algorithm is a modified version of an ant colony optimization theory describing ant food foraging. Ants initially follow random paths from the nest, but if food is found, the ant deposits a pheromone (modifying the local environment), which influences other ants to travel the same path. Once the food source is exhausted, the pheromone decays naturally, which causes the trail to disappear. When an ant is on an established trail, it may at any time decide to follow a new random path, allowing for new exploration. Using these concepts, in our system for UAV, we use two units, the Rendezvous unit and the Patrol unit. The Rendezvous units will act as pheromone deposit sites keeping a record of trails of interest (extra pheromone that decays over time), and obstacles (no pheromone). The search area is divided into a grid of areas. Each area unit is assigned a pheromone weight. The patrol unit picks an area unit based on a probabilistic formula consisting of parameters like the relative weight of trail intensity, area visibility to the unit, the distance of the patrol unit from the area, and the pheromone decay factor. Simulation of a UAV surveillance system based on the above algorithm showed that it has the ability to perform independently and reliably without human intervention, and the emergent nature of the algorithm has the ability to incorporate important aspects of unmanned surveillance.

  10. Wetland Assessment Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (uav) Photogrammetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boon, M. A.; Greenfield, R.; Tesfamichael, S.

    2016-06-01

    The use of Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry is a valuable tool to enhance our understanding of wetlands. Accurate planning derived from this technological advancement allows for more effective management and conservation of wetland areas. This paper presents results of a study that aimed at investigating the use of UAV photogrammetry as a tool to enhance the assessment of wetland ecosystems. The UAV images were collected during a single flight within 2½ hours over a 100 ha area at the Kameelzynkraal farm, Gauteng Province, South Africa. An AKS Y-6 MKII multi-rotor UAV and a digital camera on a motion compensated gimbal mount were utilised for the survey. Twenty ground control points (GCPs) were surveyed using a Trimble GPS to achieve geometrical precision and georeferencing accuracy. Structure-from-Motion (SfM) computer vision techniques were used to derive ultra-high resolution point clouds, orthophotos and 3D models from the multi-view photos. The geometric accuracy of the data based on the 20 GCP's were 0.018 m for the overall, 0.0025 m for the vertical root mean squared error (RMSE) and an over all root mean square reprojection error of 0.18 pixel. The UAV products were then edited and subsequently analysed, interpreted and key attributes extracted using a selection of tools/ software applications to enhance the wetland assessment. The results exceeded our expectations and provided a valuable and accurate enhancement to the wetland delineation, classification and health assessment which even with detailed field studies would have been difficult to achieve.

  11. Micro-electro-mechanical flapping wing technology for micro air vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hall, Asha J.; Riddick, Jaret C.

    2012-04-01

    Army combat operations have placed a high premium on reconnaissance missions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) (less than 15 cm in dimension and less than 20 g in mass). One approach for accomplishing this mission is to develop a biologically inspired flapping wing insect that can maneuver into confined areas and possess hovering capabilities. Analysis of insect flight indicates that in addition to the bending excitation (flapping), simultaneous excitation of the twisting degree-of-freedom (pitching) is required to manipulate the control surface adequately. Traditionally, bimorph piezoelectric PZT (Pb(Zr0.55Ti0.45)O3) actuators have been used in many applications to excite the bending degree-of-freedom. In laminated or layered structures, bend-twist coupling is governed by the existence of at least one anisotropic layer not aligned with the primary plate axes. By adding a layer of off-axis PZT segments to a PZT bimorph actuator, thereby producing a layered structure to be referred to as a functionally- modified bimorph, bend-twist coupling may be introduced to the flexural response of the layered PZT. Furthermore, by selectively charging off-axis layers in specific combinations with the bimorph, the response of the functionally-modified bimorph may be tailored yielding a biaxial actuator to actively control the flapping wing response. The present study presents an experimental investigation of both traditional bimorph and functionally-modified PZT bimorph designs intended for active bend-twist actuation of cm-scale flapping wing devices.

  12. Small unmanned aerial vehicles for aeromagnetic surveys and their flights in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Funaki, Minoru; Higashino, Shin-Ichiro; Sakanaka, Shinya; Iwata, Naoyoshi; Nakamura, Norihiro; Hirasawa, Naohiko; Obara, Noriaki; Kuwabara, Mikio

    2014-12-01

    We developed small computer-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, Ant-Plane) using parts and technology designed for model airplanes. These UAVs have a maximum flight range of 300-500 km. We planned aeromagnetic and aerial photographic surveys using the UAVs around Bransfield Basin, Antarctica, beginning from King George Island. However, we were unable to complete these flights due to unsuitable weather conditions and flight restrictions. Successful flights were subsequently conducted from Livingston Island to Deception Island in December 2011. This flight covered 302.4 km in 3:07:08, providing aeromagnetic and aerial photographic data from an altitude of 780 m over an area of 9 × 18 km around the northern region of Deception Island. The resulting magnetic anomaly map of Deception Island displayed higher resolution than the marine anomaly maps published already. The flight to South Bay in Livingston Island successfully captured aerial photographs that could be used for assessment of glacial and sea-ice conditions. It is unclear whether the cost-effectiveness of the airborne survey by UAV is superior to that of manned flight. Nonetheless, Ant-Plane 6-3 proved to be highly cost-effective for the Deception Island flight, considering the long downtime of the airplane in the Antarctic storm zone.

  13. A fault-tolerant control architecture for unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drozeski, Graham R.

    Research has presented several approaches to achieve varying degrees of fault-tolerance in unmanned aircraft. Approaches in reconfigurable flight control are generally divided into two categories: those which incorporate multiple non-adaptive controllers and switch between them based on the output of a fault detection and identification element, and those that employ a single adaptive controller capable of compensating for a variety of fault modes. Regardless of the approach for reconfigurable flight control, certain fault modes dictate system restructuring in order to prevent a catastrophic failure. System restructuring enables active control of actuation not employed by the nominal system to recover controllability of the aircraft. After system restructuring, continued operation requires the generation of flight paths that adhere to an altered flight envelope. The control architecture developed in this research employs a multi-tiered hierarchy to allow unmanned aircraft to generate and track safe flight paths despite the occurrence of potentially catastrophic faults. The hierarchical architecture increases the level of autonomy of the system by integrating five functionalities with the baseline system: fault detection and identification, active system restructuring, reconfigurable flight control; reconfigurable path planning, and mission adaptation. Fault detection and identification algorithms continually monitor aircraft performance and issue fault declarations. When the severity of a fault exceeds the capability of the baseline flight controller, active system restructuring expands the controllability of the aircraft using unconventional control strategies not exploited by the baseline controller. Each of the reconfigurable flight controllers and the baseline controller employ a proven adaptive neural network control strategy. A reconfigurable path planner employs an adaptive model of the vehicle to re-shape the desired flight path. Generation of the revised

  14. Implementation of AN Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System for Large Scale Mapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mah, S. B.; Cryderman, C. S.

    2015-08-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), digital cameras, powerful personal computers, and software have made it possible for geomatics professionals to capture aerial photographs and generate digital terrain models and orthophotographs without using full scale aircraft or hiring mapping professionals. This has been made possible by the availability of miniaturized computers and sensors, and software which has been driven, in part, by the demand for this technology in consumer items such as smartphones. The other force that is in play is the increasing number of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) people who are building UAVs as a hobby or for professional use. Building a UAV system for mapping is an alternative to purchasing a turnkey system. This paper describes factors to be considered when building a UAV mapping system, the choices made, and the test results of a project using this completed system.

  15. Holarchical Systems and Emotional Holons : Biologically-Inspired System Designs for Control of Autonomous Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ippolito, Corey; Plice, Laura; Pisanich, Greg

    2003-01-01

    The BEES (Bio-inspired Engineering for Exploration Systems) for Mars project at NASA Ames Research Center has the goal of developing bio-inspired flight control strategies to enable aerial explorers for Mars scientific investigations. This paper presents a summary of our ongoing research into biologically inspired system designs for control of unmanned autonomous aerial vehicle communities for Mars exploration. First, we present cooperative design considerations for robotic explorers based on the holarchical nature of biological systems and communities. Second, an outline of an architecture for cognitive decision making and control of individual robotic explorers is presented, modeled after the emotional nervous system of cognitive biological systems. Keywords: Holarchy, Biologically Inspired, Emotional UAV Flight Control

  16. Design and integration of vision based sensors for unmanned aerial vehicles navigation and guidance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sabatini, Roberto; Bartel, Celia; Kaharkar, Anish; Shaid, Tesheen

    2012-04-01

    In this paper we present a novel Navigation and Guidance System (NGS) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) based on Vision Based Navigation (VBN) and other avionics sensors. The main objective of our research is to design a lowcost and low-weight/volume NGS capable of providing the required level of performance in all flight phases of modern small- to medium-size UAVs, with a special focus on automated precision approach and landing, where VBN techniques can be fully exploited in a multisensory integrated architecture. Various existing techniques for VBN are compared and the Appearance-based Navigation (ABN) approach is selected for implementation. Feature extraction and optical flow techniques are employed to estimate flight parameters such as roll angle, pitch angle, deviation from the runway and body rates. Additionally, we address the possible synergies between VBN, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and MEMS-IMU (Micro-Electromechanical System Inertial Measurement Unit) sensors and also the use of Aircraft Dynamics Models (ADMs) to provide additional information suitable to compensate for the shortcomings of VBN sensors in high-dynamics attitude determination tasks. An Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) is developed to fuse the information provided by the different sensors and to provide estimates of position, velocity and attitude of the platform in real-time. Two different integrated navigation system architectures are implemented. The first uses VBN at 20 Hz and GPS at 1 Hz to augment the MEMS-IMU running at 100 Hz. The second mode also includes the ADM (computations performed at 100 Hz) to provide augmentation of the attitude channel. Simulation of these two modes is performed in a significant portion of the Aerosonde UAV operational flight envelope and performing a variety of representative manoeuvres (i.e., straight climb, level turning, turning descent and climb, straight descent, etc.). Simulation of the first integrated navigation system architecture

  17. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) associated DTM quality evaluation and hazard assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Mei-Jen; Chen, Shao-Der; Chao, Yu-Jui; Chiang, Yi-Lin; Chang, Kuo-Jen

    2014-05-01

    Taiwan, due to the high seismicity and high annual rainfall, numerous landslides triggered every year and severe impacts affect the island. Concerning to the catastrophic landslides, the key information of landslide, including range of landslide, volume estimation and the subsequent evolution are important when analyzing the triggering mechanism, hazard assessment and mitigation. Thus, the morphological analysis gives a general overview for the landslides and been considered as one of the most fundamental information. We try to integrate several technologies, especially by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and multi-spectral camera, to decipher the consequence and the potential hazard, and the social impact. In recent years, the remote sensing technology improves rapidly, providing a wide range of image, essential and precious information. Benefited of the advancing of informatics, remote-sensing and electric technologies, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry mas been improve significantly. The study tries to integrate several methods, including, 1) Remote-sensing images gathered by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and by aerial photos taken in different periods; 2) field in-situ geologic investigation; 3) Differential GPS, RTK GPS and Ground LiDAR field in-site geoinfomatics measurements; 4) Construct the DTMs before and after landslide, as well as the subsequent periods using UAV and aerial photos; 5) Discrete element method should be applied to understand the geomaterial composing the slope failure, for predicting earthquake-induced and rainfall-induced landslides displacement. First at all, we evaluate the Microdrones MD4-1000 UAV airphotos derived Digital Terrain Model (DTM). The ground resolution of the DSM point cloud of could be as high as 10 cm. By integrated 4 ground control point within an area of 56 hectares, compared with LiDAR DSM and filed RTK-GPS surveying, the mean error is as low as 6cm with a standard deviation of 17cm. The quality of the

  18. Coordination Between Unmanned Aerial and Ground Vehicles: A Taxonomy and Optimization Perspective.

    PubMed

    Chen, Jie; Zhang, Xing; Xin, Bin; Fang, Hao

    2016-04-01

    The coordination between unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is a proactive research topic whose great value of application has attracted vast attention. This paper outlines the motivations for studying the cooperative control of UAVs and UGVs, and attempts to make a comprehensive investigation and analysis on recent research in this field. First, a taxonomy for classification of existing unmanned aerial and ground vehicles systems (UAGVSs) is proposed, and a generalized optimization framework is developed to allow the decision-making problems for different types of UAGVSs to be described in a unified way. By following the proposed taxonomy, we show how different types of UAGVSs can be built to realize the goal of a common task, that is target tracking, and how optimization problems can be formulated for a UAGVS to perform specific tasks. This paper presents an optimization perspective to model and analyze different types of UAGVSs, and serves as a guidance and reference for developing UAGVSs. PMID:25898328

  19. Biologically Inspired Micro-Flight Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raney, David L.; Waszak, Martin R.

    2003-01-01

    Natural fliers demonstrate a diverse array of flight capabilities, many of which are poorly understood. NASA has established a research project to explore and exploit flight technologies inspired by biological systems. One part of this project focuses on dynamic modeling and control of micro aerial vehicles that incorporate flexible wing structures inspired by natural fliers such as insects, hummingbirds and bats. With a vast number of potential civil and military applications, micro aerial vehicles represent an emerging sector of the aerospace market. This paper describes an ongoing research activity in which mechanization and control concepts for biologically inspired micro aerial vehicles are being explored. Research activities focusing on a flexible fixed- wing micro aerial vehicle design and a flapping-based micro aerial vehicle concept are presented.

  20. On Board Data Acquisition System with Intelligent Transducers for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rochala, Zdzisław

    2012-02-01

    This report presents conclusions from research project no. ON50900363 conducted at the Mechatronics Department, Military University of Technology in the years 2007-2010. As the main object of the study involved the preparation of a concept and the implementation of an avionics data acquisition system intended for research during flight of unmanned aerial vehicles of the mini class, this article presents a design of an avionics system and describes equipment solutions of a distributed measurement system intended for data acquisition consisting of intelligent transducers. The data collected during a flight controlled by an operator confirmed proper operation of the individual components of the data acquisition system.

  1. Modeling and optimization of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles system architecture alternatives.

    PubMed

    Qin, Dongliang; Li, Zhifei; Yang, Feng; Wang, Weiping; He, Lei

    2014-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems have already been used in civilian activities, although very limitedly. Confronted different types of tasks, multi UAVs usually need to be coordinated. This can be extracted as a multi UAVs system architecture problem. Based on the general system architecture problem, a specific description of the multi UAVs system architecture problem is presented. Then the corresponding optimization problem and an efficient genetic algorithm with a refined crossover operator (GA-RX) is proposed to accomplish the architecting process iteratively in the rest of this paper. The availability and effectiveness of overall method is validated using 2 simulations based on 2 different scenarios. PMID:25140328

  2. Modeling and Optimization of Multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles System Architecture Alternatives

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Weiping; He, Lei

    2014-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems have already been used in civilian activities, although very limitedly. Confronted different types of tasks, multi UAVs usually need to be coordinated. This can be extracted as a multi UAVs system architecture problem. Based on the general system architecture problem, a specific description of the multi UAVs system architecture problem is presented. Then the corresponding optimization problem and an efficient genetic algorithm with a refined crossover operator (GA-RX) is proposed to accomplish the architecting process iteratively in the rest of this paper. The availability and effectiveness of overall method is validated using 2 simulations based on 2 different scenarios. PMID:25140328

  3. Beam divergence changing mechanism for short-range inter-unmanned aerial vehicle optical communications.

    PubMed

    Heng, Kiang Huat; Zhong, Wen-De; Cheng, Tee Hiang; Liu, Ning; He, Yingjie

    2009-03-10

    The problems associated with using a single fixed beam divergence for short-range inter-unmanned aerial vehicle free-space optical communications are discussed. To overcome the problems, a beam divergence changing mechanism is proposed. Four different methods are then proposed to implement the beam divergence changing mechanism. The performance of these methods is evaluated in terms of transmission distance under adverse weather conditions. The results show that the performance is greatly improved when the beam divergence changing mechanism is used. PMID:19277090

  4. Moments of Inertia - Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone (DROID)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haro, Helida C.

    2010-01-01

    The objective of this research effort is to determine the most appropriate, cost efficient, and effective method to utilize for finding moments of inertia for the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone (DROID). A moment is a measure of the body's tendency to turn about its center of gravity (CG) and inertia is the resistance of a body to changes in its momentum. Therefore, the moment of inertia (MOI) is a body's resistance to change in rotation about its CG. The inertial characteristics of an UAV have direct consequences on aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, and control. Therefore, it is imperative to determine the precise inertial characteristics of the DROID.

  5. Moments of Inertia: Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone (DROID)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haro, Helida C.

    2010-01-01

    The objective of this research effort is to determine the most appropriate, cost efficient, and effective method to utilize for finding moments of inertia for the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone (DROID). A moment is a measure of the body's tendency to turn about its center of gravity (CG) and inertia is the resistance of a body to changes in its momentum. Therefore, the moment of inertia (MOI) is a body's resistance to change in rotation about its CG. The inertial characteristics of an UAV have direct consequences on aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, and control. Therefore, it is imperative to determine the precise inertial characteristics of the DROID.

  6. Best practice for minimising unmanned aerial vehicle disturbance to wildlife in biological field research.

    PubMed

    Hodgson, Jarrod C; Koh, Lian Pin

    2016-05-23

    The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), colloquially referred to as 'drones', for biological field research is increasing [1-3]. Small, civilian UAVs are providing a viable, economical tool for ecology researchers and environmental managers. UAVs are particularly useful for wildlife observation and monitoring as they can produce systematic data of high spatial and temporal resolution [4]. However, this new technology could also have undesirable and unforeseen impacts on wildlife, the risks of which we currently have little understanding [5-7]. There is a need for a code of best practice in the use of UAVs to mitigate or alleviate these risks, which we begin to develop here. PMID:27218843

  7. An Analysis of Fuel Cell Options for an All-electric Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kohout, Lisa L.; Schmitz, Paul C.

    2007-01-01

    A study was conducted to assess the performance characteristics of both PEM and SOFC-based fuel cell systems for an all-electric high altitude, long endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Primary and hybrid systems were considered. Fuel options include methane, hydrogen, and jet fuel. Excel-based models were used to calculate component mass as a function of power level and mission duration. Total system mass and stored volume as a function of mission duration for an aircraft operating at 65 kft altitude were determined and compared.

  8. Time-critical cooperative path-following control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xargay Mata, Enric

    This thesis addresses the problem of steering a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) along desired 3D spatial paths while meeting stringent relative temporal constraints. A representative example is the challenging mission scenario where the UAVs are tasked to cooperatively execute collision-free maneuvers and arrive at their final destinations at the same time, or at different times so as to meet a desired inter-vehicle schedule. In the proposed framework, the UAVs are assigned nominal spatial paths and speed profiles along those, and then the vehicles are requested to execute cooperative path following, rather than "open-loop" trajectory-tracking maneuvers. This strategy yields robust behavior against external disturbances by allowing the UAVs to negotiate their speeds along the paths in response to information exchanged over a supporting inter-vehicle communications network. The proposed approach addresses explicitly the situation where each vehicle transmits coordination-relevant information to only a subset of the other vehicles, as determined by the time-varying communications topology. Furthermore, the thesis considers the case where the graph that captures the underlying communications topology is disconnected during some interval of time or even fails to be connected at all times. Conditions are given under which the complete time-critical cooperative path-following closed-loop system is stable and yields convergence of a conveniently defined cooperation error to a neighborhood of the origin. The thesis also derives lower bounds on the convergence rate of the coordination dynamics as a function of the quality of service of the supporting network, and proposes a coordination algorithm to improve the rate of convergence of the coordination dynamics in low-connectivity scenarios. Moreover, motivated by the exchange of information over networks with finite-rate communication links, the effect of quantization on vehicle coordination is also analyzed

  9. Surveying a Landslide in a Road Embankment Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Photogrammetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carvajal, F.; Agüera, F.; Pérez, M.

    2011-09-01

    Most of the works of civil engineering, and some others applications, need to be designed using a basic cartography with a suitable scale to the accuracy and extension of the plot.The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Photogrammetry covers the gap between classical manned aerial photogrammetry and hand- made surveying techniques because it works in the close-range domain, combining aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry, but also introduces low-cost alternatives. The aim of this work is developing of an accurate and low-cost method to characterize landslides located on the size of a road. It was applied at the kilometric point 339 belonging to the A92 dual carriageway, in the Abla municipal term, province of Almeria, Spain. A photogrammetric project was carried out from a set of images taken from an md4-200 Microdrones with an on-board calibrated camera 12 Megapixels Pentax Optio A40. The flight was previously planned to cover the whole extension of the embankment with three passes composed of 18 photos each one. All the images were taken with the vertical axe and it was registered 85% and 60% longitudinal and transversal overlaps respectively. The accuracy of the products, with planimetric and altimetric errors of 0.049 and 0.108m repectively, lets to take measurements of the landslide and projecting preventive and palliative actuations.

  10. Mapping of a river using close range photogrammetry technique and unmanned aerial vehicle system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Room, M. H. M.; Ahmad, A.

    2014-02-01

    Photogrammetry is a technique that can be used to record the information of any feature without direct contact. Nowadays, a combination of photogrammetry and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems is widely used for various applications, especially for large scale mapping. UAV systems offer several advantages in terms of cost and image resolution compared to terrestrial photogrammetry and remote sensing system. Therefore, a combination of photogrammetry and UAV created a new term which is UAV photogrammetry. The aim of this study is to investigate the ability of a UAV system to map a river at very close distance. A digital camera is attached to the Hexacopter UAV and it is flown at 2 m above the ground surface to produce aerial photos. Then, the aerial photos are processed to create two photogrammetric products as output. These are mosaicked orthophoto and digital image. Both products are assessed (RSME). The RSME of X and Y coordinates are ±0.009 m and ±0.033 m respectively. As a conclusion, photogrammetry and the UAV system offer a reliable accuracy for mapping a river model and advantages in term of cost-efficient, high ground resolution and rapid data acquisition.

  11. Bears Show a Physiological but Limited Behavioral Response to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

    PubMed

    Ditmer, Mark A; Vincent, John B; Werden, Leland K; Tanner, Jessie C; Laske, Timothy G; Iaizzo, Paul A; Garshelis, David L; Fieberg, John R

    2015-08-31

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have the potential to revolutionize the way research is conducted in many scientific fields. UAVs can access remote or difficult terrain, collect large amounts of data for lower cost than traditional aerial methods, and facilitate observations of species that are wary of human presence. Currently, despite large regulatory hurdles, UAVs are being deployed by researchers and conservationists to monitor threats to biodiversity, collect frequent aerial imagery, estimate population abundance, and deter poaching. Studies have examined the behavioral responses of wildlife to aircraft (including UAVs), but with the widespread increase in UAV flights, it is critical to understand whether UAVs act as stressors to wildlife and to quantify that impact. Biologger technology allows for the remote monitoring of stress responses in free-roaming individuals, and when linked to locational information, it can be used to determine events or components of an animal's environment that elicit a physiological response not apparent based on behavior alone. We assessed effects of UAV flights on movements and heart rate responses of free-roaming American black bears. We observed consistently strong physiological responses but infrequent behavioral changes. All bears, including an individual denned for hibernation, responded to UAV flights with elevated heart rates, rising as much as 123 beats per minute above the pre-flight baseline. It is important to consider the additional stress on wildlife from UAV flights when developing regulations and best scientific practices. PMID:26279232

  12. Conceptual Design of a Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with 24-HR Endurance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fredericks, William J.

    2010-01-01

    This paper describes a conceptual design study for a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is able to carry a 25-lb science payload for 24 hr and is able to land and take off at elevations as high as 15,000 ft without human intervention. In addition to the science payload, this vehicle must be able to carry a satellite communication system, and the vehicle must be able to be transported in a standard full-size pickup truck and assembled by only two operators. This project started with a brainstorming phase to devise possible vehicle configurations that might satisfy the requirements. A down select was performed to select a near-term solution and two advanced vehicle concepts that are better suited to the intent of the mission. Sensitivity analyses were also performed on the requirements and the technology levels to obtain a better understanding of the design space. This study found that within the study assumptions the mission is feasible; the selected concepts are recommended for further development.

  13. Transition aerodynamics for 20-percent-scale VTOL unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kjerstad, Kevin J.; Paulson, John W., Jr.

    1993-01-01

    An investigation was conducted in the Langley 14- by 22-Foot Subsonic Tunnel to establish a transition data base for an unmanned aerial vehicle utilizing a powered-lift ejector system and to evaluate alterations to the ejector system for improved vehicle performance. The model used in this investigation was a 20-percent-scale, blended-body, arrow-wing configuration with integrated twin rectangular ejectors. The test was conducted from hover through transition conditions with variations in angle of attack, angle of sideslip, free-stream dynamic pressure, nozzle pressure ratio, and model ground height. Force and moment data along with extensive surface pressure data were obtained. A laser velocimeter technique for measuring inlet flow velocities was demonstrated at a single flow condition, and also a low order panel method was successfully used to numerically simulate the ejector inlet flow.

  14. Flight validation of an embedded structural health monitoring system for an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kressel, I.; Dorfman, B.; Botsev, Y.; Handelman, A.; Balter, J.; Pillai, A. C. R.; Prasad, M. H.; Gupta, N.; Joseph, A. M.; Sundaram, R.; Tur, M.

    2015-07-01

    This paper presents the design and flight validation of an embedded fiber Bragg gratings (FBG) based structural health monitoring (SHM) system for the Indian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Nishant. The embedding of the sensors was integrated with the manufacturing process, taking into account the trimming of parts and assembly considerations. Reliable flight data were recorded on board the vehicle and analyzed so that deviations from normal structural behaviors could be identified, evaluated and tracked. Based on the data obtained, it was possible to track both the loads and vibration signatures by direct sensors’ cross correlation using principal component analysis (PCA) and artificial neural networks (ANNs). Sensor placement combined with proper ground calibration, enabled the distinction between strain and temperature readings. The start of a minor local structural temporary instability was identified during landing, proving the value of such continuous structural airworthy assessment for UAV structures.

  15. Power line field sensing to support autonomous navigation of small unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matthews, John; Bukshpun, Leonid; Pradhan, Ranjit

    2013-06-01

    Autonomous navigation around power lines in a complex urban environment is a critical challenge facing small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs). As part of an ongoing development of an electric and magnetic field sensor system designed to provide SUAVs with the capability to sense and avoid power transmission and distribution lines by monitoring their electric and magnetic field signatures, we have performed field measurements and analysis of power-line signals. We discuss the nature of the power line signatures to be detected, and optimal strategies for detecting these signals amid SUAV platform noise and environmental interference. Based on an analysis of measured power line signals and vehicle noise, we have found that, under certain circumstances, power line harmonics can be detected at greater range than the fundamental. We explain this phenomenon by combining a model of power line signal nonlinearity with the quasi-static electric and magnetic signatures of multiphase power lines.

  16. Particle swarm optimization method for the control of a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belkadi, A.; Ciarletta, L.; Theilliol, D.

    2015-11-01

    This paper concerns a control approach of a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) based on virtual leader. Among others, optimization methods are used to develop the virtual leader control approach, particularly the particle swarm optimization method (PSO). The goal is to find optimal positions at each instant of each UAV to guarantee the best performance of a given task by minimizing a predefined objective function. The UAVs are able to organize themselves on a 2D plane in a predefined architecture, following a mission led by a virtual leader and simultaneously avoiding collisions between various vehicles of the group. The global proposed method is independent from the model or the control of a particular UAV. The method is tested in simulation on a group of UAVs whose model is treated as a double integrator. Test results for the different cases are presented.

  17. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveying marine fauna: a dugong case study.

    PubMed

    Hodgson, Amanda; Kelly, Natalie; Peel, David

    2013-01-01

    Aerial surveys of marine mammals are routinely conducted to assess and monitor species' habitat use and population status. In Australia, dugongs (Dugong dugon) are regularly surveyed and long-term datasets have formed the basis for defining habitat of high conservation value and risk assessments of human impacts. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may facilitate more accurate, human-risk free, and cheaper aerial surveys. We undertook the first Australian UAV survey trial in Shark Bay, western Australia. We conducted seven flights of the ScanEagle UAV, mounted with a digital SLR camera payload. During each flight, ten transects covering a 1.3 km(2) area frequently used by dugongs, were flown at 500, 750 and 1000 ft. Image (photograph) capture was controlled via the Ground Control Station and the capture rate was scheduled to achieve a prescribed 10% overlap between images along transect lines. Images were manually reviewed post hoc for animals and scored according to sun glitter, Beaufort Sea state and turbidity. We captured 6243 images, 627 containing dugongs. We also identified whales, dolphins, turtles and a range of other fauna. Of all possible dugong sightings, 95% (CI = 90%, 98%) were subjectively classed as 'certain' (unmistakably dugongs). Neither our dugong sighting rate, nor our ability to identify dugongs with certainty, were affected by UAV altitude. Turbidity was the only environmental variable significantly affecting the dugong sighting rate. Our results suggest that UAV systems may not be limited by sea state conditions in the same manner as sightings from manned surveys. The overlap between images proved valuable for detecting animals that were masked by sun glitter in the corners of images, and identifying animals initially captured at awkward body angles. This initial trial of a basic camera system has successfully demonstrated that the ScanEagle UAV has great potential as a tool for marine mammal aerial surveys. PMID:24223967

  18. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Surveying Marine Fauna: A Dugong Case Study

    PubMed Central

    Hodgson, Amanda; Kelly, Natalie; Peel, David

    2013-01-01

    Aerial surveys of marine mammals are routinely conducted to assess and monitor species’ habitat use and population status. In Australia, dugongs (Dugong dugon) are regularly surveyed and long-term datasets have formed the basis for defining habitat of high conservation value and risk assessments of human impacts. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may facilitate more accurate, human-risk free, and cheaper aerial surveys. We undertook the first Australian UAV survey trial in Shark Bay, western Australia. We conducted seven flights of the ScanEagle UAV, mounted with a digital SLR camera payload. During each flight, ten transects covering a 1.3 km2 area frequently used by dugongs, were flown at 500, 750 and 1000 ft. Image (photograph) capture was controlled via the Ground Control Station and the capture rate was scheduled to achieve a prescribed 10% overlap between images along transect lines. Images were manually reviewed post hoc for animals and scored according to sun glitter, Beaufort Sea state and turbidity. We captured 6243 images, 627 containing dugongs. We also identified whales, dolphins, turtles and a range of other fauna. Of all possible dugong sightings, 95% (CI = 90%, 98%) were subjectively classed as ‘certain’ (unmistakably dugongs). Neither our dugong sighting rate, nor our ability to identify dugongs with certainty, were affected by UAV altitude. Turbidity was the only environmental variable significantly affecting the dugong sighting rate. Our results suggest that UAV systems may not be limited by sea state conditions in the same manner as sightings from manned surveys. The overlap between images proved valuable for detecting animals that were masked by sun glitter in the corners of images, and identifying animals initially captured at awkward body angles. This initial trial of a basic camera system has successfully demonstrated that the ScanEagle UAV has great potential as a tool for marine mammal aerial surveys. PMID:24223967

  19. The effective use of unmanned aerial vehicles for local law enforcement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gasque, Leighton

    This qualitative study was done to interview local law enforcement in Murfreesboro, Tennessee to determine if unmanned aerial vehicles could increase the safety of policy officers. Many police officers face dangerous scenarios on a daily basis; however, officers must also perform non-criminal related responsibilities that could put them in hazardous situations. UAVs have multiple capabilities that can decrease the number of hazards in an emergency situation whether it is environmental, traffic related, criminal activity, or investigations. Officers were interviewed to find whether or not unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) could be useful manpower on the police force. The study was also used to find whether or not officers foresee UAVs being used in law enforcement. The study revealed that UAVs could be used to add useful manpower to law enforcement based on the capabilities a UAV may have. Police officers cannot confirm whether or not they would be able to use a UAV until further research is conducted to examine the relation of costs to usage.

  20. An Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Concept for Low-Altitude Geophysical Exploration in Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raymond, C. A.; Behar, A. E.

    2004-05-01

    A concept for a small, agile UAV platform for conducting geophysical mapping in the IPY and beyond has been explored. We have developed a framework concept for community input and feedback based on a low-cost, autonomous vehicle with onboard high-precision inertial navigation that performs vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The vehicle we have focused on is the GoldenEye-100, developed by Aurora Flight Sciences Corp. (www.aurora.aero), which can carry a lightweight payload and achieve a range of 300-500 km (roundtrip). The VTOL capability would potentially allow flights to be launched from the helicopter deck of an icebreaker, and would remove the logistical burden of ensuring a hazard-free runway on the ice. Vehicle operations are controlled using a portable ground station. A payload concept has also been developed, indicating that the vehicle could easily carry a lightweight, compact magnetometer, camera and laser altimeter. Instruments developed for space missions exist that would enable a high performance system to be carried within the ~10 kg payload envelope. A gravity measurement system and radar sounder are also considered. A capable UAV platform for geophysical mapping would complement the existing aerial research platforms in Antarctica and has the potential to accelerate the exploration and monitoring of critical but remote areas in a cost-effective manner.

  1. Validation of Vehicle Candidate Areas in Aerial Images Using Color Co-Occurrence Histograms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leister, W.; Tuermer, S.; Reinartz, P.; Hoffmann, K. H.; Stilla, U.

    2013-10-01

    Traffic monitoring plays an important role in transportation management. In addition, airborne acquisition enables a flexible and realtime mapping for special traffic situations e.g. mass events and disasters. Also the automatic extraction of vehicles from aerial imagery is a common application. However, many approaches focus on the target object only. As an extension to previously developed car detection techniques, a validation scheme is presented. The focus is on exploiting the background of the vehicle candidates as well as their color properties in the HSV color space. Therefore, texture of the vehicle background is described by color co-occurrence histograms. From all resulting histograms a likelihood function is calculated giving a quantity value to indicate whether the vehicle candidate is correctly classified. Only a few robust parameters have to be determined. Finally, the strategy is tested with a dataset of dense urban areas from the inner city of Munich, Germany. First results show that certain regions which are often responsible for false positive detections, such as vegetation or road markings, can be excluded successfully.

  2. Sensor-driven area coverage for an autonomous fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle.

    PubMed

    Paull, Liam; Thibault, Carl; Nagaty, Amr; Seto, Mae; Li, Howard

    2014-09-01

    Area coverage with an onboard sensor is an important task for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with many applications. Autonomous fixed-wing UAVs are more appropriate for larger scale area surveying since they can cover ground more quickly. However, their non-holonomic dynamics and susceptibility to disturbances make sensor coverage a challenging task. Most previous approaches to area coverage planning are offline and assume that the UAV can follow the planned trajectory exactly. In this paper, this restriction is removed as the aircraft maintains a coverage map based on its actual pose trajectory and makes control decisions based on that map. The aircraft is able to plan paths in situ based on sensor data and an accurate model of the on-board camera used for coverage. An information theoretic approach is used that selects desired headings that maximize the expected information gain over the coverage map. In addition, the branch entropy concept previously developed for autonomous underwater vehicles is extended to UAVs and ensures that the vehicle is able to achieve its global coverage mission. The coverage map over the workspace uses the projective camera model and compares the expected area of the target on the ground and the actual area covered on the ground by each pixel in the image. The camera is mounted on a two-axis gimbal and can either be stabilized or optimized for maximal coverage. Hardware-in-the-loop simulation results and real hardware implementation on a fixed-wing UAV show the effectiveness of the approach. By including the already developed automatic takeoff and landing capabilities, we now have a fully automated and robust platform for performing aerial imagery surveys. PMID:25137689

  3. Hierarchical flight control system synthesis for rotorcraft-based unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shim, Hyunchul

    The Berkeley Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) research aims to design, implement, and analyze a group of autonomous intelligent UAVs and UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicles). The goal of this dissertation is to provide a comprehensive procedural methodology to design, implement, and test rotorcraft-based unmanned aerial vehicles (RUAVs). We choose the rotorcraft as the base platform for our aerial agents because it offers ideal maneuverability for our target scenarios such as the pursuit-evasion game. Aided by many enabling technologies such as lightweight and powerful computers, high-accuracy navigation sensors and communication devices, it is now possible to construct RUAVs capable of precise navigation and intelligent behavior by the decentralized onboard control system. Building a fully functioning RUAV requires a deep understanding of aeronautics, control theory and computer science as well as a tremendous effort for implementation. These two aspects are often inseparable and therefore equally highlighted throughout this research. The problem of multiple vehicle coordination is approached through the notion of a hierarchical system. The idea behind the proposed architecture is to build a hierarchical multiple-layer system that gradually decomposes the abstract mission objectives into the physical quantities of control input. Each RUAV incorporated into this system performs the given tasks and reports the results through the hierarchical communication channel back to the higher-level coordinator. In our research, we provide a theoretical and practical approach to build a number of RUAVs based on commercially available navigation sensors, computer systems, and radio-controlled helicopters. For the controller design, the dynamic model of the helicopter is first built. The helicopter exhibits a very complicated multi-input multi-output, nonlinear, time-varying and coupled dynamics, which is exposed to severe exogenous disturbances. This poses considerable difficulties for

  4. Use of 3D laser radar for navigation of unmanned aerial and ground vehicles in urban and indoor environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uijt de Haag, Maarten; Venable, Don; Smearcheck, Mark

    2007-04-01

    changes. These "delta" position and attitudes are then used calibrate the IMU. Note, that the IMU is not only required to form the point cloud of the environment expressed in the navigation frame, but also to perform association of the features from one flash Ladar frame to the next. This paper will discuss the performance of the proposed 3D imaging sensor feature extraction, position change estimator and attitude change estimator using both simulator data and data collected from a moving platform in an indoor environment. The former consists of data from a simulated IMU and flash Ladar installed on an aerial vehicle for various trajectories through an urban environment. The latter consists of measurements from a CSEM Swissranger 3D imaging sensor and a MicroStrain low-cost IMU. Data was collected on a manually operated aerial vehicle inside the Ohio University School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science building.

  5. Towards digital terrain modeling with unmanned aerial vehicles and SfM point clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anders, Niels; Masselink, Rens; Keesstra, Saskia

    2015-04-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are excellent tools for the acquisition of very high-resolution digital surface models using low altitude aerial photography and photogrammetric, 'Structure-from-Motion' (SfM), processing. Terrain reconstructions are produced by interpolating ground points after removal of non-ground points. While extremely detailed in non-vegetated areas, UAV point clouds are less suitable for terrain reconstructions of vegetated areas due to the inability of aerial photography to penetrate through vegetation for collecting ground points. This hinders for example detailed modeling of sediment transport on hillslopes towards vegetated lower areas and channels with riparian vegetation. We propose complementing UAV SfM point cloud data with alternative data sources to fill in the data gaps in vegetated areas. Firstly, SfM point clouds are classified into ground and non-ground points based on both color values and neighborhood statistics. Secondly, non-ground points are removed and data gaps are complemented with external data points. Thirdly, the combined point cloud is interpolated into a digital terrain model (DTM) using the natural neighbor interpolation technique. We demonstrate the methodology with three scenarios of terrain reconstructions in two study areas in North and Southeast Spain: i.e. a linear slope below sparsely distributed trees without the need of supplementary data points (1), and a gully with riparian vegetation combined with 5 m LiDAR data (2) or with manually measured dGPS data points (3). While the spatial resolution is significantly less below vegetated areas compared to non-vegetated areas, the results suggest significant improvements of the reconstructed topography, making the DTM more useful for soil erosion studies and sediment modeling.

  6. Locating chimpanzee nests and identifying fruiting trees with an unmanned aerial vehicle.

    PubMed

    van Andel, Alexander C; Wich, Serge A; Boesch, Christophe; Koh, Lian Pin; Robbins, Martha M; Kelly, Joseph; Kuehl, Hjalmar S

    2015-10-01

    Monitoring of animal populations is essential for conservation management. Various techniques are available to assess spatiotemporal patterns of species distribution and abundance. Nest surveys are often used for monitoring great apes. Quickly developing technologies, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used to complement these ground-based surveys, especially for covering large areas rapidly. Aerial surveys have been used successfully to detect the nests of orang-utans. It is unknown if such an approach is practical for African apes, which usually build their nests at lower heights, where they might be obscured by forest canopy. In this 2-month study, UAV-derived aerial imagery was used for two distinct purposes: testing the detectability of chimpanzee nests and identifying fruiting trees used by chimpanzees in Loango National Park (Gabon). Chimpanzee nest data were collected through two approaches: we located nests on the ground and then tried to detect them in UAV photos and vice versa. Ground surveys were conducted using line transects, reconnaissance trails, and opportunistic sampling during which we detected 116 individual nests in 28 nest groups. In complementary UAV images we detected 48% of the individual nests (68% of nest groups) in open coastal forests and 8% of individual nests (33% of nest groups) in closed canopy inland forests. The key factor for nest detectability in UAV imagery was canopy openness. Data on fruiting trees were collected from five line transects. In 122 UAV images 14 species of trees (N = 433) were identified, alongside 37 tree species (N = 205) in complementary ground surveys. Relative abundance of common tree species correlated between ground and UAV surveys. We conclude that UAVs have great potential as a rapid assessment tool for detecting chimpanzee presence in forest with open canopy and assessing fruit tree availability. UAVs may have limited applicability for nest detection in closed canopy forest. PMID

  7. Atmospheric Mining in the Outer Solar System:. [Aerial Vehicle Reconnaissance and Exploration Options

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palaszewski, Bryan A.

    2014-01-01

    Atmospheric mining in the outer solar system has been investigated as a means of fuel production for high energy propulsion and power. Fusion fuels such as Helium 3 (3He) and hydrogen can be wrested from the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune and either returned to Earth or used in-situ for energy production. Helium 3 and hydrogen (deuterium, etc.) were the primary gases of interest with hydrogen being the primary propellant for nuclear thermal solid core and gas core rocket-based atmospheric flight. A series of analyses were undertaken to investigate resource capturing aspects of atmospheric mining in the outer solar system. This included the gas capturing rate, storage options, and different methods of direct use of the captured gases. Additional supporting analyses were conducted to illuminate vehicle sizing and orbital transportation issues. While capturing 3He, large amounts of hydrogen and 4He are produced. With these two additional gases, the potential for fueling small and large fleets of additional exploration and exploitation vehicles exists. Additional aerospacecraft or other aerial vehicles (UAVs, balloons, rockets, etc.) could fly through the outer planet atmospheres, for global weather observations, localized storm or other disturbance investigations, wind speed measurements, polar observations, etc. Deep-diving aircraft (built with the strength to withstand many atmospheres of pressure) powered by the excess hydrogen or helium 4 may be designed to probe the higher density regions of the gas giants. Outer planet atmospheric properties, atmospheric storm data, and mission planning for future outer planet UAVs are presented.

  8. Three-Dimensional Building Reconstruction Using Images Obtained by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wefelscheid, C.; Hänsch, R.; Hellwich, O.

    2011-09-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer several new possibilities in a wide range of applications. One example is the 3D reconstruction of buildings. In former times this was either restricted by earthbound vehicles to the reconstruction of facades or by air-borne sensors to generate only very coarse building models. This paper describes an approach for fully automatic image-based 3D reconstruction of buildings using UAVs. UAVs are able to observe the whole 3D scene and to capture images of the object of interest from completely different perspectives. The platform used by this work is a Falcon 8 octocopter from Ascending Technologies. A slightly modified high-resolution consumer camera serves as sensor for data acquisition. The final 3D reconstruction is computed offline after image acquisition and follows a reconstruction process originally developed for image sequences obtained by earthbound vehicles. The per- formance of the described method is evaluated on benchmark datasets showing that the achieved accuracy is high and even comparable with Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). Additionally, the results of the application of the complete processing-chain starting at image acquisition and ending in a dense surface-mesh are presented and discussed.

  9. Monocular Vision System for Fixed Altitude Flight of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

    PubMed

    Huang, Kuo-Lung; Chiu, Chung-Cheng; Chiu, Sheng-Yi; Teng, Yao-Jen; Hao, Shu-Sheng

    2015-01-01

    The fastest and most economical method of acquiring terrain images is aerial photography. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been investigated for this task. However, UAVs present a range of challenges such as flight altitude maintenance. This paper reports a method that combines skyline detection with a stereo vision algorithm to enable the flight altitude of UAVs to be maintained. A monocular camera is mounted on the downside of the aircraft's nose to collect continuous ground images, and the relative altitude is obtained via a stereo vision algorithm from the velocity of the UAV. Image detection is used to obtain terrain images, and to measure the relative altitude from the ground to the UAV. The UAV flight system can be set to fly at a fixed and relatively low altitude to obtain the same resolution of ground images. A forward-looking camera is mounted on the upside of the aircraft's nose. In combination with the skyline detection algorithm, this helps the aircraft to maintain a stable flight pattern. Experimental results show that the proposed system enables UAVs to obtain terrain images at constant resolution, and to detect the relative altitude along the flight path. PMID:26184213

  10. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Produce High-Resolution Seasonally-Relevant Imagery for Classifying Wetland Vegetation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcaccio, J. V.; Markle, C. E.; Chow-Fraser, P.

    2015-08-01

    With recent advances in technology, personal aerial imagery acquired with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has transformed the way ecologists can map seasonal changes in wetland habitat. Here, we use a multi-rotor (consumer quad-copter, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+) UAV to acquire a high-resolution (< 8 cm) composite photo of a coastal wetland in summer 2014. Using validation data collected in the field, we determine if a UAV image and SWOOP (Southwestern Ontario Orthoimagery Project) image (collected in spring 2010) differ in their classification of type of dominant vegetation type and percent cover of three plant classes: submerged aquatic vegetation, floating aquatic vegetation, and emergent vegetation. The UAV imagery was more accurate than available SWOOP imagery for mapping percent cover of submergent and floating vegetation categories, but both were able to accurately determine the dominant vegetation type and percent cover of emergent vegetation. Our results underscore the value and potential for affordable UAVs (complete quad-copter system < 3,000 CAD) to revolutionize the way ecologists obtain imagery and conduct field research. In Canada, new UAV regulations make this an easy and affordable way to obtain multiple high-resolution images of small (< 1.0 km2) wetlands, or portions of larger wetlands throughout a year.

  11. Actions, Observations, and Decision-Making: Biologically Inspired Strategies for Autonomous Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pisanich, Greg; Ippolito, Corey; Plice, Laura; Young, Larry A.; Lau, Benton

    2003-01-01

    This paper details the development and demonstration of an autonomous aerial vehicle embodying search and find mission planning and execution srrategies inspired by foraging behaviors found in biology. It begins by describing key characteristics required by an aeria! explorer to support science and planetary exploration goals, and illustrates these through a hypothetical mission profile. It next outlines a conceptual bio- inspired search and find autonomy architecture that implements observations, decisions, and actions through an "ecology" of producer, consumer, and decomposer agents. Moving from concepts to development activities, it then presents the results of mission representative UAV aerial surveys at a Mars analog site. It next describes hardware and software enhancements made to a commercial small fixed-wing UAV system, which inc!nde a ncw dpvelopnent architecture that also provides hardware in the loop simulation capability. After presenting the results of simulated and actual flights of bioinspired flight algorithms, it concludes with a discussion of future development to include an expansion of system capabilities and field science support.

  12. Monocular Vision System for Fixed Altitude Flight of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    PubMed Central

    Huang, Kuo-Lung; Chiu, Chung-Cheng; Chiu, Sheng-Yi; Teng, Yao-Jen; Hao, Shu-Sheng

    2015-01-01

    The fastest and most economical method of acquiring terrain images is aerial photography. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been investigated for this task. However, UAVs present a range of challenges such as flight altitude maintenance. This paper reports a method that combines skyline detection with a stereo vision algorithm to enable the flight altitude of UAVs to be maintained. A monocular camera is mounted on the downside of the aircraft’s nose to collect continuous ground images, and the relative altitude is obtained via a stereo vision algorithm from the velocity of the UAV. Image detection is used to obtain terrain images, and to measure the relative altitude from the ground to the UAV. The UAV flight system can be set to fly at a fixed and relatively low altitude to obtain the same resolution of ground images. A forward-looking camera is mounted on the upside of the aircraft’s nose. In combination with the skyline detection algorithm, this helps the aircraft to maintain a stable flight pattern. Experimental results show that the proposed system enables UAVs to obtain terrain images at constant resolution, and to detect the relative altitude along the flight path. PMID:26184213

  13. Fully self-contained vision-aided navigation and landing of a micro air vehicle independent from external sensor inputs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brockers, Roland; Susca, Sara; Zhu, David; Matthies, Larry

    2012-06-01

    Direct-lift micro air vehicles have important applications in reconnaissance. In order to conduct persistent surveillance in urban environments, it is essential that these systems can perform autonomous landing maneuvers on elevated surfaces that provide high vantage points without the help of any external sensor and with a fully contained on-board software solution. In this paper, we present a micro air vehicle that uses vision feedback from a single down looking camera to navigate autonomously and detect an elevated landing platform as a surrogate for a roof top. Our method requires no special preparation (labels or markers) of the landing location. Rather, leveraging the planar character of urban structure, the landing platform detection system uses a planar homography decomposition to detect landing targets and produce approach waypoints for autonomous landing. The vehicle control algorithm uses a Kalman filter based approach for pose estimation to fuse visual SLAM (PTAM) position estimates with IMU data to correct for high latency SLAM inputs and to increase the position estimate update rate in order to improve control stability. Scale recovery is achieved using inputs from a sonar altimeter. In experimental runs, we demonstrate a real-time implementation running on-board a micro aerial vehicle that is fully self-contained and independent from any external sensor information. With this method, the vehicle is able to search autonomously for a landing location and perform precision landing maneuvers on the detected targets.

  14. Fully Self-Contained Vision-Aided Navigation and Landing of a Micro Air Vehicle Independent from External Sensor Inputs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brockers, Roland; Susca, Sara; Zhu, David; Matthies, Larry

    2012-01-01

    Direct-lift micro air vehicles have important applications in reconnaissance. In order to conduct persistent surveillance in urban environments, it is essential that these systems can perform autonomous landing maneuvers on elevated surfaces that provide high vantage points without the help of any external sensor and with a fully contained on-board software solution. In this paper, we present a micro air vehicle that uses vision feedback from a single down looking camera to navigate autonomously and detect an elevated landing platform as a surrogate for a roof top. Our method requires no special preparation (labels or markers) of the landing location. Rather, leveraging the planar character of urban structure, the landing platform detection system uses a planar homography decomposition to detect landing targets and produce approach waypoints for autonomous landing. The vehicle control algorithm uses a Kalman filter based approach for pose estimation to fuse visual SLAM (PTAM) position estimates with IMU data to correct for high latency SLAM inputs and to increase the position estimate update rate in order to improve control stability. Scale recovery is achieved using inputs from a sonar altimeter. In experimental runs, we demonstrate a real-time implementation running on-board a micro aerial vehicle that is fully self-contained and independent from any external sensor information. With this method, the vehicle is able to search autonomously for a landing location and perform precision landing maneuvers on the detected targets.

  15. Development of an unmanned aerial vehicle-based remote sensing system for site-specific management in precision agriculture

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems. In agriculture, UAVs have been used for pest control and remote sensing. The objective of this research was to develop a UAV system to en...

  16. Fiber Bragg Grating Sensor/Systems for In-Flight Wing Shape Monitoring of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Parker, Allen; Richards, Lance; Ko, William; Piazza, Anthony; Tran, Van

    2006-01-01

    A viewgraph presentation describing an in-flight wing shape measurement system based on fiber bragg grating sensors for use in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is shown. The topics include: 1) MOtivation; 2) Objective; 3) Background; 4) System Design; 5) Ground Testing; 6) Future Work; and 7) Conclusions

  17. Use of an unmanned aerial vehicle-mounted video camera to assess feeding behavior of Raramuri Criollo cows

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We determined the feasibility of using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) video monitoring to predict intake of discrete food items of rangeland-raised Raramuri Criollo non-nursing beef cows. Thirty-five cows were released into a 405-m2 rectangular dry lot, either in pairs (pilot tests) or individually (...

  18. Visual Servoing of Quadrotor Micro-Air Vehicle Using Color-Based Tracking Algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Azrad, Syaril; Kendoul, Farid; Nonami, Kenzo

    This paper describes a vision-based tracking system using an autonomous Quadrotor Unmanned Micro-Aerial Vehicle (MAV). The vision-based control system relies on color target detection and tracking algorithm using integral image, Kalman filters for relative pose estimation, and a nonlinear controller for the MAV stabilization and guidance. The vision algorithm relies on information from a single onboard camera. An arbitrary target can be selected in real-time from the ground control station, thereby outperforming template and learning-based approaches. Experimental results obtained from outdoor flight tests, showed that the vision-control system enabled the MAV to track and hover above the target as long as the battery is available. The target does not need to be pre-learned, or a template for detection. The results from image processing are sent to navigate a non-linear controller designed for the MAV by the researchers in our group.

  19. Research on the processing technology of low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, Shihua; Liu, Yintao; Li, Feida; Zhou, Conglin; Huang, Qing; Xu, Hongwei

    2015-12-01

    The UAV system acts as one of the infrastructure of earth observation, with its mobility, high speed, flexibility, economy and other remarkable technical advantages, has been widely used in various fields of the national economic construction, such as agricultural monitoring, resource development, disaster emergency treatment. Taking an actual engineering as a case study in this paper, the method and the skill of making digital orthophoto map was stated by using the UASMaster, the professional UAV data processing software, based on the eBee unmanned aerial vehicle. Finally, the precision of the DOM was analyzed in detail through two methods, overlapping the DOM with the existing DLG of the region and contrasting the points of the existing DLG of 1:1000 scale with the corresponding checkpoints of the stereomodel.

  20. Identifying Contingency Requirements using Obstacle Analysis on an Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lutz, Robyn R.; Nelson, Stacy; Patterson-Hine, Ann; Frost, Chad R.; Tal, Doron

    2005-01-01

    This paper describes experience using Obstacle Analysis to identify contingency requirements on an unpiloted aerial vehicle. A contingency is an operational anomaly, and may or may not involve component failure. The challenges to this effort were: ( I ) rapid evolution of the system while operational, (2) incremental autonomy as capabilities were transferred from ground control to software control and (3) the eventual safety-criticality of such systems as they begin to fly over populated areas. The results reported here are preliminary but show that Obstacle Analysis helped (1) identify new contingencies that appeared as autonomy increased; (2) identify new alternatives for handling both previously known and new contingencies; and (3) investigate the continued validity of existing software requirements for contingency handling. Since many mobile, intelligent systems are built using a development process that poses the same challenges, the results appear to have applicability to other similar systems.

  1. Design of a GaAs/Ge Solar Array for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scheiman, David A.; Brinker, David J.; Bents, David J.; Colozza, Anthony J.

    1995-01-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are being proposed for many applications including surveillance, mapping and atmospheric studies. These applications require a lightweight, low speed, medium to long duration airplane. Due to the weight, speed, and altitude constraints imposed on such aircraft, solar array generated electric power is a viable alternative to air-breathing engines. Development of such aircraft is currently being funded under the Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program. NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC) is currently building a Solar Electric Airplane to demonstrate UAV technology. This aircraft utilizes high efficiency Applied Solar Energy Corporation (ASEC) GaAs/Ge space solar cells. The cells have been provided by the Air Force through the ManTech Office. Expected completion of the plane is early 1995, with the airplane currently undergoing flight testing using battery power.

  2. Mathematical model of unmanned aerial vehicle used for endurance autonomous monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chelaru, Teodor-Viorel; Chelaru, Adrian

    2014-12-01

    The paper purpose is to present some aspects regarding the control system of unmanned aerial vehicle - UAV, used to local observations, surveillance and monitoring interest area. The calculus methodology allows a numerical simulation of UAV evolution in bad atmospheric conditions by using nonlinear model, as well as a linear one for obtaining guidance command. The UAV model which will be presented has six DOF (degrees of freedom), and autonomous control system. This theoretical development allows us to build stability matrix, command matrix and control matrix and finally to analyse the stability of autonomous UAV flight. A robust guidance system, based on uncoupled state will be evaluated for different fly conditions and the results will be presented. The flight parameters and guidance will be analysed.

  3. Design of an air sampler for a small unmanned aerial vehicle.

    PubMed

    Peräjärvi, K; Lehtinen, J; Pöllänen, R; Toivonen, H

    2008-01-01

    In the aftermath of a nuclear accident or malevolent act, it is of paramount importance to have the capability to monitor airborne radioactive substances by collecting air samples. For potentially dangerous missions, the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland (STUK) has developed an air sampler to be used on a small unmanned aerial vehicle. When a Petrianov or Fluoropore filter is used in the sampler and the air velocity is 71 km h(-1), the air flow rate through the filter is 0.73 m(3) h(-1) or 0.23 m(3) h(-1), respectively. The present article introduces the developed air sampler using fluid dynamic simulations and wind tunnel data. The operation of the system was validated by collecting airborne radioactive aerosols from air. PMID:19091809

  4. Optimal Beamforming and Performance Analysis of Wireless Relay Networks with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ouyang, Jian; Lin, Min

    2015-03-01

    In this paper, we investigate a wireless communication system employing a multi-antenna unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as the relay to improve the connectivity between the base station (BS) and the receive node (RN), where the BS-UAV link undergoes the correlated Rician fading while the UAV-RN link follows the correlated Rayleigh fading with large scale path loss. By assuming that the amplify-and-forward (AF) protocol is adopted at UAV, we first propose an optimal beamforming (BF) scheme to maximize the mutual information of the UAV-assisted dual-hop relay network, by calculating the BF weight vectors and the power allocation coefficient. Then, we derive the analytical expressions for the outage probability (OP) and the ergodic capacity (EC) of the relay network to evaluate the system performance conveniently. Finally, computer simulation results are provided to demonstrate the validity and efficiency of the proposed scheme as well as the performance analysis.

  5. Meteorological and Remote Sensing Applications of High Altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schoenung, S. M.; Wegener, S. S.

    1999-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are maturing in performance and becoming available for routine use in environmental applications including weather reconnaissance and remote sensing. This paper presents a discussion of UAV characteristics and unique features compared with other measurement platforms. A summary of potential remote sensing applications is provided, along with details for four types of tropical cyclone missions. Capabilities of platforms developed under NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program are reviewed, including the Altus, Perseus, and solar- powered Pathfinder, all of which have flown to over 57,000 ft (17 km). In many scientific missions, the science objectives drive the experimental design, thus defining the sensor payload, aircraft performance, and operational requirements. Some examples of science missions and the requisite UAV / payload system are given. A discussion of technology developments needed to fully mature UAV systems for routine operational use is included, along with remarks on future science and commercial UAV business opportunities.

  6. Demonstration of a multimode longwave infrared imaging system on an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, Terry L.; Romanski, John G.; Buckley, John J.; Girata, Anthony J.

    1999-07-01

    The RISTA II sensor was integrated into the Altus Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and flown over Camp Roberts and Ft. Hunter Ligget, CA in July 1998. The RISTA II demonstration system consisted of a long-wave IR imager, a digital data link, and a ground processing facility (GPF) containing an aided target recognizer, data storage devices, and operator workstations. Imagery was compressed on the UAV and sent on the GPF over a 10.71 Mbit per second digital data link. Selected image frames from the GPF were sent near real-time over a T1 link to observers in Rosslyn, VA. The sensor operated in a variety of scanning and framing modes. Both manual and automatic sensor pointing were demonstrated. Seven flights were performed at altitudes up to 7500m and range sup to 60 km from the GPF. Applicability to numerous military and civilian scenarios was demonstrated.

  7. Design and test of a situation-augmented display for an unmanned aerial vehicle monitoring task.

    PubMed

    Lu, Jen-Li; Horng, Ruey-Yun; Chao, Chin-Jung

    2013-08-01

    In this study, a situation-augmented display for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) monitoring was designed, and its effects on operator performance and mental workload were examined. The display design was augmented with the knowledge that there is an invariant flight trajectory (formed by the relationship between altitude and velocity) for every flight, from takeoff to landing. 56 participants were randomly assigned to the situation-augmented display or a conventional display condition to work on 4 (number of abnormalities) x 2 (noise level) UAV monitoring tasks three times. Results showed that the effects of situation-augmented display on flight completion time and time to detect abnormalities were robust under various workload conditions, but error rate and perceived mental workload were unaffected by the display type. Results suggest that the UAV monitoring task is extremely difficult, and that display devices providing high-level situation-awareness may improve operator monitoring performance. PMID:24422345

  8. Radiometric and geometric analysis of hyperspectral imagery acquired from an unmanned aerial vehicle

    SciTech Connect

    Hruska, Ryan; Mitchell, Jessica; Anderson, Matthew; Glenn, Nancy F.

    2012-09-17

    During the summer of 2010, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) hyperspectral in-flight calibration and characterization experiment of the Resonon PIKA II imaging spectrometer was conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) UAV Research Park. The purpose of the experiment was to validate the radiometric calibration of the spectrometer and determine the georegistration accuracy achievable from the on-board global positioning system (GPS) and inertial navigation sensors (INS) under operational conditions. In order for low-cost hyperspectral systems to compete with larger systems flown on manned aircraft, they must be able to collect data suitable for quantitative scientific analysis. The results of the in-flight calibration experiment indicate an absolute average agreement of 96.3%, 93.7% and 85.7% for calibration tarps of 56%, 24%, and 2.5% reflectivity, respectively. The achieved planimetric accuracy was 4.6 meters (based on RMSE).

  9. Design of a GaAs/Ge solar array for unmanned aerial vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Scheiman, D.A.; Brinker, D.J.; Bents, D.J.; Colozza, A.J.

    1995-03-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are being proposed for many applications including surveillance, mapping and atmospheric studies. These applications require a lightweight, low speed, medium to long duration airplane. Due to the weight, speed, and altitude constraints imposed on such aircraft, solar array generated electric power is a viable alternative to air-breathing engines. Development of such aircraft is currently being funded under the Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program. NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC) is currently building a Solar Electric Airplane to demonstrate UAV technology. This aircraft utilizes high efficiency Applied Solar Energy Corporation (ASEC) GaAs/Ge space solar cells. The cells have been provided by the Air Force through the ManTech Office. Expected completion of the plane is early 1995, with the airplane currently undergoing flight testing using battery power.

  10. Differential-Evolution Control Parameter Optimization for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Path Planning.

    PubMed

    Kok, Kai Yit; Rajendran, Parvathy

    2016-01-01

    The differential evolution algorithm has been widely applied on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) path planning. At present, four random tuning parameters exist for differential evolution algorithm, namely, population size, differential weight, crossover, and generation number. These tuning parameters are required, together with user setting on path and computational cost weightage. However, the optimum settings of these tuning parameters vary according to application. Instead of trial and error, this paper presents an optimization method of differential evolution algorithm for tuning the parameters of UAV path planning. The parameters that this research focuses on are population size, differential weight, crossover, and generation number. The developed algorithm enables the user to simply define the weightage desired between the path and computational cost to converge with the minimum generation required based on user requirement. In conclusion, the proposed optimization of tuning parameters in differential evolution algorithm for UAV path planning expedites and improves the final output path and computational cost. PMID:26943630

  11. Mathematical model of unmanned aerial vehicle used for endurance autonomous monitoring

    SciTech Connect

    Chelaru, Teodor-Viorel; Chelaru, Adrian

    2014-12-10

    The paper purpose is to present some aspects regarding the control system of unmanned aerial vehicle - UAV, used to local observations, surveillance and monitoring interest area. The calculus methodology allows a numerical simulation of UAV evolution in bad atmospheric conditions by using nonlinear model, as well as a linear one for obtaining guidance command. The UAV model which will be presented has six DOF (degrees of freedom), and autonomous control system. This theoretical development allows us to build stability matrix, command matrix and control matrix and finally to analyse the stability of autonomous UAV flight. A robust guidance system, based on uncoupled state will be evaluated for different fly conditions and the results will be presented. The flight parameters and guidance will be analysed.

  12. Design of a radiation surveillance unit for an unmanned aerial vehicle.

    PubMed

    Kurvinen, K; Smolander, P; Pöllänen, R; Kuukankorpi, S; Kettunen, M; Lyytinen, J

    2005-01-01

    This paper describes a prototype of a compact environmental radiation surveillance instrument designed for a Ranger unmanned aerial vehicle. The instrument, which can be used for tracking a radioactive plume, mapping fallout and searching for point sources, consists of three different detector types (GM, NaI(Tl) and CZT) and an air sampling unit. In addition to the standard electronics for data acquisition, the system contains an onboard computer, a GPS receiver and environmental sensors, all enclosed in a single housing manufactured of fiberglass-reinforced composite material. The data collected during the flight is transmitted in real-time to the ground station via a TETRA radio network. The radiation surveillance unit is an independent module and as such can be used in, for example, airplanes, helicopters and cars. PMID:15748656

  13. Differential-Evolution Control Parameter Optimization for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Path Planning

    PubMed Central

    Kok, Kai Yit; Rajendran, Parvathy

    2016-01-01

    The differential evolution algorithm has been widely applied on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) path planning. At present, four random tuning parameters exist for differential evolution algorithm, namely, population size, differential weight, crossover, and generation number. These tuning parameters are required, together with user setting on path and computational cost weightage. However, the optimum settings of these tuning parameters vary according to application. Instead of trial and error, this paper presents an optimization method of differential evolution algorithm for tuning the parameters of UAV path planning. The parameters that this research focuses on are population size, differential weight, crossover, and generation number. The developed algorithm enables the user to simply define the weightage desired between the path and computational cost to converge with the minimum generation required based on user requirement. In conclusion, the proposed optimization of tuning parameters in differential evolution algorithm for UAV path planning expedites and improves the final output path and computational cost. PMID:26943630

  14. Simulation study of unmanned aerial vehicle communication networks addressing bandwidth disruptions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wei, Sixiao; Ge, Linqiang; Yu, Wei; Chen, Genshe; Pham, Khanh; Blasch, Erik; Shen, Dan; Lu, Chao

    2014-06-01

    To date, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been widely used for numerous applications. UAVs can directly connect to ground stations or satellites to transfer data. Multiple UAVs can communicate and cooperate with each other and then construct an ad-hoc network. Multi-UAV systems have the potential to provide reliable and timely services for end users in addition to satellite networks. In this paper, we conduct a simulation study for evaluating the network performance of multi-UAV systems and satellite networks using the ns-2 networking simulation tool. Our simulation results show that UAV communication networks can achieve better network performance than satellite networks and with a lower cost and increased timeliness. We also investigate security resiliency of UAV networks. As a case study, we simulate false data injection attacks against UAV communication networks in ns-2 and demonstrate the impact of false data injection attacks on network performance.

  15. Design of a GaAs/Ge solar array for unmanned aerial vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Scheiman, D.A.; Colozza, A.J.; Brinker, D.J.; Bents, D.J.

    1994-12-31

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are being proposed for many applications including surveillance, mapping and atmospheric studies. These applications require a lightweight, low speed, medium to long duration airplane. Due to the weight, speed, and altitude constraints imposed on such aircraft, solar array generated electric power is a viable alternative to air-breathing engines. Development of such aircraft is currently being funded under the Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program. NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC) is currently building a Solar Electric Airplane to demonstrate UAV technology. This aircraft utilizes high efficiency Applied Solar Energy Corporation (ASEC) GaAs/Ge space solar cells. The cells have been provided by the Air Force through the ManTech Office. Expected completion of the plane is early 1995, with the airplane currently undergoing flight testing using battery power.

  16. Challenges for micro-scale flapping-wing micro air vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, Robert J.; Finio, Benjamin; Karpelson, Michael; Pérez-Arancibia, Nestor O.; Sreetharan, Pratheev; Whitney, John P.

    2012-06-01

    The challenges for successful flight of insect-scale micro air vehicles encompass basic questions of fabrication, design, propulsion, actuation, control, and power - topics that have in general been answered for larger aircraft. When developing a flying robot on the scale of flies and bees, all hardware must be developed from scratch as there are no "off-the-shelf" sensors, actuators, or microcontrollers that can satisfy the extreme mass and power limitations imposed by such vehicles. Similar challenges exist for fabrication and assembly of the structural and aeromechanical components of insect-scale micro air vehicles that neither macro-scale techniques nor MEMS can adequately solve. With these challenges in mind, this paper presents progress in the essential technologies for micro-scale flapping-wing robots.

  17. An autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle sensing system for structural health monitoring of bridges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reagan, Daniel; Sabato, Alessandro; Niezrecki, Christopher; Yu, Tzuyang; Wilson, Richard

    2016-04-01

    As civil infrastructure (i.e. bridges, railways, and tunnels) continues to age; the frequency and need to perform inspection more quickly on a broader scale increases. Traditional inspection and monitoring techniques (e.g., visual inspection, mechanical sounding, rebound hammer, cover meter, electrical potential measurements, ultrasound, and ground penetrating radar) may produce inconsistent results, require lane closure, are labor intensive and time-consuming. Therefore, new structural health monitoring systems must be developed that are automated, highly accurate, minimally invasive, and cost effective. Three-dimensional (3D) digital image correlation (DIC) systems have the merits of extracting full-field strain, deformation, and geometry profiles. These profiles can then be stitched together to generate a complete integrity map of the area of interest. Concurrently, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have emerged as valuable resources for positioning sensing equipment where it is either difficult to measure or poses a risk to human safety. UAVs have the capability to expedite the optical-based measurement process, offer increased accessibility, and reduce interference with local traffic. Within this work, an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle in conjunction with 3D DIC was developed for monitoring bridges. The capabilities of the proposed system are demonstrated in both laboratory measurements and data collected from bridges currently in service. Potential measurement influences from platform instability, rotor vibration and positioning inaccuracy are also studied in a controlled environment. The results of these experiments show that the combination of autonomous flight with 3D DIC and other non-contact measurement systems provides a valuable and effective civil inspection platform.

  18. Observing Entrainment Processes Using a Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: A Feasibility Study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, Sabrina; Beyrich, Frank; Bange, Jens

    2014-03-01

    Measurement flights with the meteorological mini aerial vehicle (MAV) were performed in spring 2011 to assess the capability of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to measure the structure of the transition zone between the convective boundary layer and the stably stratified free atmosphere. The campaign took place at the Meteorological Observatory Lindenberg/Richard-Aßmann-Observatory of the German Meteorological Service. Besides the MAV flights, observations were made from a 12-m and a 99-m tower, a sodar, two ceilometers, radiosondes, and a tethered balloon with sensor packages at six different levels. MAV measurements were intentionally combined with remote sensing systems. The height range of the entrainment zone as well as its diurnal cycle were provided by the remote sensing instruments. The UAV provided the high-resolution in situ data of temperature and wind for the study of turbulent processes. It is shown that the MAV is able to maintain constant altitude with very small deviations—a pre-requisite to study processes inside the often quite thin entrainment zone and that MAV high-resolution wind and temperature measurements allow for very detailed studies of the fine structure of the atmosphere and thus for the identification of quite local and/or short-duration processes such as overshooting thermals or downward intrusions of warm air. Spatial series measured by the MAV during horizontal flights show turbulent exchange of heat in short turbulent bursts at heights close to and within the entrainment zone. Scaled vertical profiles of vertical velocity, potential temperature variance, and sensible heat flux confirm the general shape found by previous measurements and numerical studies.

  19. AVIATR - Aerial Vehicle for In-situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance A Titan Airplane Mission Concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnes, Jason W.; Lemke, Lawrence; Foch, Rick; McKay, Christopher P.; Beyer, Ross A.; Radebaugh, Jani; Atkinson, David H.; Lorenz, Ralph D.; LeMouelic, Stephane; Rodriguez, Sebastien; Gundlach, Jay; Giannini, Francesco; Bain, Sean; Flasar, F. Michael; Hurford, Terry; Anderson, Carrie M.; Merrison, Jon; Adamkovics, Mate; Kattenhorn, Simon A.; Mitchell, Jonathan; Burr, Devon M.; Colaprete, Anthony; Schaller, Emily; Friedson, A. James; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Coradini, Angioletta; Adriani, Alberto; Sayanagi, Kunio M.; Malaska, Michael J.; Morabito, David; Reh, Kim

    2011-01-01

    We describe a mission concept for a stand-alone Titan airplane mission: Aerial Vehicle for In-situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance (AVIATR). With independent delivery and direct-to-Earth communications, AVIATR could contribute to Titan science either alone or as part of a sustained Titan Exploration Program. As a focused mission, AVIATR as we have envisioned it would concentrate on the science that an airplane can do best: exploration of Titan's global diversity. We focus on surface geology/hydrology and lower-atmospheric structure and dynamics. With a carefully chosen set of seven instruments-2 near-IR cameras, 1 near-IR spectrometer, a RADAR altimeter, an atmospheric structure suite, a haze sensor, and a raindrop detector-AVIATR could accomplish a significant subset of the scientific objectives of the aerial element of flagship studies. The AVIATR spacecraft stack is composed of a Space Vehicle (SV) for cruise, an Entry Vehicle (EV) for entry and descent, and the Air Vehicle (AV) to fly in Titan's atmosphere. Using an Earth-Jupiter gravity assist trajectory delivers the spacecraft to Titan in 7.5 years, after which the AVIATR AV would operate for a 1-Earth-year nominal mission. We propose a novel 'gravity battery' climb-then-glide strategy to store energy for optimal use during telecommunications sessions. We would optimize our science by using the flexibility of the airplane platform, generating context data and stereo pairs by flying and banking the AV instead of using gimbaled cameras. AVIATR would climb up to 14 km altitude and descend down to 3.5 km altitude once per Earth day, allowing for repeated atmospheric structure and wind measurements all over the globe. An initial Team-X run at JPL priced the AVIATR mission at FY10 $715M based on the rules stipulated in the recent Discovery announcement of opportunity. Hence we find that a standalone Titan airplane mission can achieve important science building on Cassini's discoveries and can likely do so within

  20. Analysis of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) hyperspectral remote sensing monitoring key technology in coastal wetland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Yi; Zhang, Jie; Zhang, Jingyu

    2016-01-01

    The coastal wetland, a transitional zone between terrestrial ecosystems and marine ecosystems, is the type of great value to ecosystem services. For the recent 3 decades, area of the coastal wetland is decreasing and the ecological function is gradually degraded with the rapid development of economy, which restricts the sustainable development of economy and society in the coastal areas of China in turn. It is a major demand of the national reality to carry out the monitoring of coastal wetlands, to master the distribution and dynamic change. UAV, namely unmanned aerial vehicle, is a new platform for remote sensing. Compared with the traditional satellite and manned aerial remote sensing, it has the advantage of flexible implementation, no cloud cover, strong initiative and low cost. Image-spectrum merging is one character of high spectral remote sensing. At the same time of imaging, the spectral curve of each pixel is obtained, which is suitable for quantitative remote sensing, fine classification and target detection. Aimed at the frontier and hotspot of remote sensing monitoring technology, and faced the demand of the coastal wetland monitoring, this paper used UAV and the new remote sensor of high spectral imaging instrument to carry out the analysis of the key technologies of monitoring coastal wetlands by UAV on the basis of the current situation in overseas and domestic and the analysis of developing trend. According to the characteristic of airborne hyperspectral data on UAV, that is "three high and one many", the key technology research that should develop are promoted as follows: 1) the atmosphere correction of the UAV hyperspectral in coastal wetlands under the circumstance of complex underlying surface and variable geometry, 2) the best observation scale and scale transformation method of the UAV platform while monitoring the coastal wetland features, 3) the classification and detection method of typical features with high precision from multi scale

  1. Adaptive mode transition control architecture with an application to unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gutierrez Zea, Luis Benigno

    In this thesis, an architecture for the adaptive mode transition control of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is presented. The proposed architecture consists of three levels: the highest level is occupied by mission planning routines where information about way points the vehicle must follow is processed. The middle level uses a trajectory generation component to coordinate the task execution and provides set points for low-level stabilizing controllers. The adaptive mode transitioning control algorithm resides at the lowest level of the hierarchy consisting of a mode transitioning controller and the accompanying adaptation mechanism. The mode transition controller is composed of a mode transition manager, a set of local controllers, a set of active control models, a set point filter, a state filter, an automatic trimming mechanism and a dynamic compensation filter. Local controllers operate in local modes and active control models operate in transitions between two local modes. The mode transition manager determines the actual mode of operation of the vehicle based on a set of mode membership functions and activates a local controller or an active control model accordingly. The adaptation mechanism uses an indirect adaptive control methodology to adapt the active control models. For this purpose, a set of plant models based on fuzzy neural networks is trained based on input/output information from the vehicle and used to compute sensitivity matrices providing the linearized models required by the adaptation algorithms. The effectiveness of the approach is verified through software-in-the-loop simulations, hardware-in-the-loop simulations and flight testing.

  2. Real-time Accurate Surface Reconstruction Pipeline for Vision Guided Planetary Exploration Using Unmanned Ground and Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Almeida, Eduardo DeBrito

    2012-01-01

    This report discusses work completed over the summer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology. A system is presented to guide ground or aerial unmanned robots using computer vision. The system performs accurate camera calibration, camera pose refinement and surface extraction from images collected by a camera mounted on the vehicle. The application motivating the research is planetary exploration and the vehicles are typically rovers or unmanned aerial vehicles. The information extracted from imagery is used primarily for navigation, as robot location is the same as the camera location and the surfaces represent the terrain that rovers traverse. The processed information must be very accurate and acquired very fast in order to be useful in practice. The main challenge being addressed by this project is to achieve high estimation accuracy and high computation speed simultaneously, a difficult task due to many technical reasons.

  3. Balancing search and target response in cooperative unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) teams.

    PubMed

    Jin, Yan; Liao, Yan; Minai, Ali A; Polycarpou, Marios M

    2006-06-01

    This paper considers a heterogeneous team of cooperating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) drawn from several distinct classes and engaged in a search and action mission over a spatially extended battlefield with targets of several types. During the mission, the UAVs seek to confirm and verifiably destroy suspected targets and discover, confirm, and verifiably destroy unknown targets. The locations of some (or all) targets are unknown a priori, requiring them to be located using cooperative search. In addition, the tasks to be performed at each target location by the team of cooperative UAVs need to be coordinated. The tasks must, therefore, be allocated to UAVs in real time as they arise, while ensuring that appropriate vehicles are assigned to each task. Each class of UAVs has its own sensing and attack capabilities, so the need for appropriate assignment is paramount. In this paper, an extensive dynamic model that captures the stochastic nature of the cooperative search and task assignment problems is developed, and algorithms for achieving a high level of performance are designed. The paper focuses on investigating the value of predictive task assignment as a function of the number of unknown targets and number of UAVs. In particular, it is shown that there is a tradeoff between search and task response in the context of prediction. Based on the results, a hybrid algorithm for switching the use of prediction is proposed, which balances the search and task response. The performance of the proposed algorithms is evaluated through Monte Carlo simulations. PMID:16761811

  4. Approach for Autonomous Control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Using Intelligent Agents for Knowledge Creation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dufrene, Warren R., Jr.

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes the development of a planned approach for Autonomous operation of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). A Hybrid approach will seek to provide Knowledge Generation thru the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Agents (IA) for UAV control. The application of many different types of AI techniques for flight will be explored during this research effort. The research concentration will be directed to the application of different AI methods within the UAV arena. By evaluating AI approaches, which will include Expert Systems, Neural Networks, Intelligent Agents, Fuzzy Logic, and Complex Adaptive Systems, a new insight may be gained into the benefits of AI techniques applied to achieving true autonomous operation of these systems thus providing new intellectual merit to this research field. The major area of discussion will be limited to the UAV. The systems of interest include small aircraft, insects, and miniature aircraft. Although flight systems will be explored, the benefits should apply to many Unmanned Vehicles such as: Rovers, Ocean Explorers, Robots, and autonomous operation systems. The flight system will be broken down into control agents that will represent the intelligent agent approach used in AI. After the completion of a successful approach, a framework of applying a Security Overseer will be added in an attempt to address errors, emergencies, failures, damage, or over dynamic environment. The chosen control problem was the landing phase of UAV operation. The initial results from simulation in FlightGear are presented.

  5. Stereoscopic Imaging for Obstacle Detection Onboard Low-Flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hanna, Emad

    Obstacle detection for low-flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) poses unique engineering challenges in terms of real-time implementation as well as system accuracy. Of all the available techniques for carrying out this task, optical sensors stand out as an inexpensive, lightweight and reliable solution. Image processing methods are used to analyze the images captured by the UAV camera(s) and to generate information pertaining to the location and motion of the obstacles in the field of view. These methods, however, can be computationally intensive and must be optimized if they are to be implemented in a moving vehicle. Additionally, the measurement of distance usually requires a high level of calibration before the results are useful. This thesis proposes a calibration method rooted in image data analysis and shows how this can be used to accurately predict the distance to obstacles. An algorithm tailored specifically to low-flying UAVs (Sparse Edge Reconstruction) is presented. Both the calibration method and the algorithm were used to analyze video gathered on a low-altitude test flight.

  6. Approach for Autonomous Control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Using Intelligent Agents for Knowledge Creation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dufrene, Warren R., Jr.

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes the development of a planned approach for Autonomous operation of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). A Hybrid approach will seek to provide Knowledge Generation through the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Agents (IA) for UAV control. The applications of several different types of AI techniques for flight are explored during this research effort. The research concentration is directed to the application of different AI methods within the UAV arena. By evaluating AI and biological system approaches. which include Expert Systems, Neural Networks. Intelligent Agents, Fuzzy Logic, and Complex Adaptive Systems, a new insight may be gained into the benefits of AI and CAS techniques applied to achieving true autonomous operation of these systems. Although flight systems were explored, the benefits should apply to many Unmanned Vehicles such as: Rovers. Ocean Explorers, Robots, and autonomous operation systems. A portion of the flight system is broken down into control agents that represent the intelligent agent approach used in AI. After the completion of a successful approach, a framework for applying an intelligent agent is presented. The initial results from simulation of a security agent for communication are presented.

  7. Fault Tolerance Analysis of L1 Adaptive Control System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krishnamoorthy, Kiruthika

    Trajectory tracking is a critical element for the better functionality of autonomous vehicles. The main objective of this research study was to implement and analyze L1 adaptive control laws for autonomous flight under normal and upset flight conditions. The West Virginia University (WVU) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flight simulation environment was used for this purpose. A comparison study between the L1 adaptive controller and a baseline conventional controller, which relies on position, proportional, and integral compensation, has been performed for a reduced size jet aircraft, the WVU YF-22. Special attention was given to the performance of the proposed control laws in the presence of abnormal conditions. The abnormal conditions considered are locked actuators (stabilator, aileron, and rudder) and excessive turbulence. Several levels of abnormal condition severity have been considered. The performance of the control laws was assessed over different-shape commanded trajectories. A set of comprehensive evaluation metrics was defined and used to analyze the performance of autonomous flight control laws in terms of control activity and trajectory tracking errors. The developed L1 adaptive control laws are supported by theoretical stability guarantees. The simulation results show that L1 adaptive output feedback controller achieves better trajectory tracking with lower level of control actuation as compared to the baseline linear controller under nominal and abnormal conditions.

  8. Cost and effectiveness analysis on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) use at border security

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yilmaz, Bahadır.

    2013-06-01

    Drones and Remotely Piloted Vehicles are types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. UAVs began to be used with the war of Vietnam, they had a great interest when Israel used them in Bekaa Valley Operations of 1982. UAVs have been used by different countries with different aims with the help of emerging technology and investments. In this article, in the context of areas of UAV usage in national security, benefits and disadvantages of UAVs are put forward. Particularly, it has been evaluated on the basis of cost-effectiveness by focusing the use of UAV in the border security. UAVs have been studied by taking cost analysis, procurement and operational costs into consideration. Analysis of effectiveness has been done with illegal passages of people and drugs from flight times of UAVs. Although the procurement cost of the medium-level UAVs is low, its operational costs are high. For this reason, the idea of less costly alternative systems have been revealed for the border security. As the costs are reduced to acceptable level involving national security and border security in future with high-technology products in their structure, it will continue to be used in an increasing proportion.

  9. Outline of a small unmanned aerial vehicle (Ant-Plane) designed for Antarctic research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Funaki, Minoru; Hirasawa, Naohiko; the Ant-Plane Group

    As part of the Ant-Plane project for summertime scientific research and logistics in the coastal region of Antarctica, we developed six types of small autonomous UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, similar to drones; we term these vehicles ‘Ant-Planes’) based on four types of airframe. In test flights, Ant-Plane 2 cruised within 20 m accuracy along a straight course during calm weather at Sakurajima Volcano, Kyushu, Japan. During a period of strong winds (22 m/s) at Mt. Chokai, Akita Prefecture, Japan, Ant-Plane 2 maintained its course during a straight flight but deviated when turning leeward. An onboard 3-axis magneto-resistant magnetometer (400 g) recorded variations in the magnetic field to an accuracy of 10 nT during periods of calm wind, but strong magnetic noise was observed during high winds, especially head winds. Ant-Plane 4-1 achieved a continuous flight of 500 km, with a maximum flight altitude of 5690 m. The Ant-Plane can be used for various types of Antarctic research as a basic platform for airborne surveys, but further development of the techniques employed in takeoff and landing are required, as well as ready adjustment of the engine and the development of small onboard instruments with greater reliability.

  10. Sitting in the Pilot's Seat; Optimizing Human-Systems Interfaces for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Queen, Steven M.; Sanner, Kurt Gregory

    2011-01-01

    One of the pilot-machine interfaces (the forward viewing camera display) for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle called the DROID (Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone) will be analyzed for optimization. The goal is to create a visual display for the pilot that as closely resembles an out-the-window view as possible. There are currently no standard guidelines for designing pilot-machine interfaces for UAVs. Typically, UAV camera views have a narrow field, which limits the situational awareness (SA) of the pilot. Also, at this time, pilot-UAV interfaces often use displays that have a diagonal length of around 20". Using a small display may result in a distorted and disproportional view for UAV pilots. Making use of a larger display and a camera lens with a wider field of view may minimize the occurrences of pilot error associated with the inability to see "out the window" as in a manned airplane. It is predicted that the pilot will have a less distorted view of the DROID s surroundings, quicker response times and more stable vehicle control. If the experimental results validate this concept, other UAV pilot-machine interfaces will be improved with this design methodology.

  11. Control and display stations for simultaneous multiple dissimilar unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linne von Berg, Dale C.; Duncan, Michael D.; Howard, John G.; Kruer, Melvin R.; Lee, John N.

    2005-05-01

    The NRL Optical Sciences Division has developed and demonstrated ground and airborne-based control, display, and exploitation stations for simultaneous use of multiple dissimilar unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems. The demonstrated systems allow operation on airborne and ground mobile platforms and allow for the control and exploitation of multiple on-board airborne and/or remote unmanned sensor systems simultaneously. The sensor systems incorporated into the control and display stations include visible and midwave infrared (EO/MWIR) panchromatic and visible through short wave infrared (VNIR-SWIR) hyperspectral (HSI) sensors of various operational types (including step-stare, push-broom, whisk-broom, and video). Demonstrated exploitation capabilities include real-time screening, sensor control, pre-flight and real-time payload/platform mission planning, geo-referenced imagery mosaicing, change detection, stereo imaging, moving target tracking, and networked dissemination to distributed exploitation nodes (man-pack, vehicle, and command centers). Results from real-time flight tests using ATR, Finder, and TERN UAV's are described.

  12. Optimal Path Planning and Control of Quadrotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Area Coverage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fan, Jiankun

    An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by computers onboard the vehicle, or remotely by a pilot on the ground, or by another vehicle. In recent years, UAVs have been used more commonly than prior years. The example includes areo-camera where a high speed camera was attached to a UAV which can be used as an airborne camera to obtain aerial video. It also could be used for detecting events on ground for tasks such as surveillance and monitoring which is a common task during wars. Similarly UAVs can be used for relaying communication signal during scenarios when regular communication infrastructure is destroyed. The objective of this thesis is motivated from such civilian operations such as search and rescue or wildfire detection and monitoring. One scenario is that of search and rescue where UAV's objective is to geo-locate a person in a given area. The task is carried out with the help of a camera whose live feed is provided to search and rescue personnel. For this objective, the UAV needs to carry out scanning of the entire area in the shortest time. The aim of this thesis to develop algorithms to enable a UAV to scan an area in optimal time, a problem referred to as "Coverage Control" in literature. The thesis focuses on a special kind of UAVs called "quadrotor" that is propelled with the help of four rotors. The overall objective of this thesis is achieved via solving two problems. The first problem is to develop a dynamic control model of quadrtor. In this thesis, a proportional-integral-derivative controller (PID) based feedback control system is developed and implemented on MATLAB's Simulink. The PID controller helps track any given trajectory. The second problem is to design a trajectory that will fulfill the mission. The planed trajectory should make sure the quadrotor will scan the whole area without missing any part to make sure that the quadrotor will find the lost

  13. Fault tolerant attitude sensing and force feedback control for unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jagadish, Chirag

    Two aspects of an unmanned aerial vehicle are studied in this work. One is fault tolerant attitude determination and the other is to provide force feedback to the joy-stick of the UAV so as to prevent faulty inputs from the pilot. Determination of attitude plays an important role in control of aerial vehicles. One way of defining the attitude is through Euler angles. These angles can be determined based on the measurements of the projections of the gravity and earth magnetic fields on the three body axes of the vehicle. Attitude determination in unmanned aerial vehicles poses additional challenges due to limitations of space, payload, power and cost. Therefore it provides for almost no room for any bulky sensors or extra sensor hardware for backup and as such leaves no room for sensor fault issues either. In the face of these limitations, this study proposes a fault tolerant computing of Euler angles by utilizing multiple different computation methods, with each method utilizing a different subset of the available sensor measurement data. Twenty-five such methods have been presented in this document. The capability of computing the Euler angles in multiple ways provides a diversified redundancy required for fault tolerance. The proposed approach can identify certain sets of sensor failures and even separate the reference fields from the disturbances. A bank-to-turn maneuver of the NASA GTM UAV is used to demonstrate the fault tolerance provided by the proposed method as well as to demonstrate the method of determining the correct Euler angles despite interferences by inertial acceleration disturbances. Attitude computation is essential for stability. But as of today most UAVs are commanded remotely by human pilots. While basic stability control is entrusted to machine or the on-board automatic controller, overall guidance is usually with humans. It is therefore the pilot who sets the command/references through a joy-stick. While this is a good compromise between

  14. Aerial Explorers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Larry A.; Pisanich, Greg; Ippolito, Corey

    2005-01-01

    This paper presents recent results from a mission architecture study of planetary aerial explorers. In this study, several mission scenarios were developed in simulation and evaluated on success in meeting mission goals. This aerial explorer mission architecture study is unique in comparison with previous Mars airplane research activities. The study examines how aerial vehicles can find and gain access to otherwise inaccessible terrain features of interest. The aerial explorer also engages in a high-level of (indirect) surface interaction, despite not typically being able to takeoff and land or to engage in multiple flights/sorties. To achieve this goal, a new mission paradigm is proposed: aerial explorers should be considered as an additional element in the overall Entry, Descent, Landing System (EDLS) process. Further, aerial vehicles should be considered primarily as carrier/utility platforms whose purpose is to deliver air-deployed sensors and robotic devices, or symbiotes, to those high-value terrain features of interest.

  15. Autonomous soaring and surveillance in wind fields with an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Chen

    Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) play an active role in developing a low-cost, low-altitude autonomous aerial surveillance platform. The success of the applications needs to address the challenge of limited on-board power plant that limits the endurance performance in surveillance mission. This thesis studies the mechanics of soaring flight, observed in nature where birds utilize various wind patterns to stay airborne without flapping their wings, and investigates its application to small UAVs in their surveillance missions. In a proposed integrated framework of soaring and surveillance, a bird-mimicking soaring maneuver extracts energy from surrounding wind environment that improves surveillance performance in terms of flight endurance, while the surveillance task not only covers the target area, but also detects energy sources within the area to allow for potential soaring flight. The interaction of soaring and surveillance further enables novel energy based, coverage optimal path planning. Two soaring and associated surveillance strategies are explored. In a so-called static soaring surveillance, the UAV identifies spatially-distributed thermal updrafts for soaring, while incremental surveillance is achieved through gliding flight to visit concentric expanding regions. A Gaussian-process-regression-based algorithm is developed to achieve computationally-efficient and smooth updraft estimation. In a so-called dynamic soaring surveillance, the UAV performs one cycle of dynamic soaring to harvest energy from the horizontal wind gradient to complete one surveillance task by visiting from one target to the next one. A Dubins-path-based trajectory planning approach is proposed to maximize wind energy extraction and ensure smooth transition between surveillance tasks. Finally, a nonlinear trajectory tracking controller is designed for a full six-degree-of-freedom nonlinear UAV dynamics model and extensive simulations are carried to demonstrate the effectiveness of

  16. Integrating Terrestrial LIDAR with Point Clouds Created from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leslar, M.

    2015-08-01

    Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for the purposes of conducting high-accuracy aerial surveying has become a hot topic over the last year. One of the most promising means of conducting such a survey involves integrating a high-resolution non-metric digital camera with the UAV and using the principals of digital photogrammetry to produce high-density colorized point clouds. Through the use of stereo imagery, precise and accurate horizontal positioning information can be produced without the need for integration with any type of inertial navigation system (INS). Of course, some form of ground control is needed to achieve this result. Terrestrial LiDAR, either static or mobile, provides the solution. Points extracted from Terrestrial LiDAR can be used as control in the digital photogrammetry solution required by the UAV. In return, the UAV is an affordable solution for filling in the shadows and occlusions typically experienced by Terrestrial LiDAR. In this paper, the accuracies of points derived from a commercially available UAV solution will be examined and compared to the accuracies achievable by a commercially available LIDAR solution. It was found that the LiDAR system produced a point cloud that was twice as accurate as the point cloud produced by the UAV's photogrammetric solution. Both solutions gave results within a few centimetres of the control field. In addition the about of planar dispersion on the vertical wall surfaces in the UAV point cloud was found to be multiple times greater than that from the horizontal ground based UAV points or the LiDAR data.

  17. D Modelling and Accuracy Assessment of Granite Quarry Using Unmmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González-Aguilera, D.; Fernández-Hernández, J.; Mancera-Taboada, J.; Rodríguez-Gonzálvez, P.; Hernández-López, D.; Felipe-García, B.; Gozalo-Sanz, I.; Arias-Perez, B.

    2012-07-01

    The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are automated systems whose main characteristic is that can be remotely piloted. This property is especially interesting in those civil engineering works in which the accuracy of the model is not reachable by common aerial or satellite systems, there is a difficult accessibility to the infrastructure due to location and geometry aspects, and the economic resources are limited. This paper aims to show the research, development and application of a UAV that will generate georeferenced spatial information at low cost, high quality, and high availability. In particular, a 3D modelling and accuracy assessment of granite quarry using UAV is applied. With regard to the image-based modelling pipeline, an automatic approach supported by open source tools is performed. The process encloses the well-known image-based modelling steps: calibration, extraction and matching of features; relative and absolute orientation of images and point cloud and surface generation. Beside this, an assessment of the final model accuracy is carried out by means of terrestrial laser scanner (TLS), imaging total station (ITS) and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) in order to ensure its validity. This step follows a twofold approach: (i) firstly, using singular check points to provide a dimensional control of the model and (ii) secondly, analyzing the level of agreement between the realitybased 3D model obtained from UAV and the generated with TLS. The main goal is to establish and validate an image-based modelling workflow using UAV technology which can be applied in the surveying and monitoring of different quarries.

  18. Thermal/structural/optical integrated design for optical sensor mounted on unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Gaopeng; Yang, Hongtao; Mei, Chao; Wu, Dengshan; Shi, Kui

    2016-01-01

    With the rapid development of science and technology and the promotion of many local wars in the world, altitude optical sensor mounted on unmanned aerial vehicle is more widely applied in the airborne remote sensing, measurement and detection. In order to obtain high quality image of the aero optical remote sensor, it is important to analysis its thermal-optical performance on the condition of high speed and high altitude. Especially for the key imaging assembly, such as optical window, the temperature variation and temperature gradient can result in defocus and aberrations in optical system, which will lead to the poor quality image. In order to improve the optical performance of a high speed aerial camera optical window, the thermal/structural/optical integrated design method is developed. Firstly, the flight environment of optical window is analyzed. Based on the theory of aerodynamics and heat transfer, the convection heat transfer coefficient is calculated. The temperature distributing of optical window is simulated by the finite element analysis software. The maximum difference in temperature of the inside and outside of optical window is obtained. Then the deformation of optical window under the boundary condition of the maximum difference in temperature is calculated. The optical window surface deformation is fitted in Zernike polynomial as the interface, the calculated Zernike fitting coefficients is brought in and analyzed by CodeV Optical Software. At last, the transfer function diagrams of the optical system on temperature field are comparatively analyzed. By comparing and analyzing the result, it can be obtained that the optical path difference caused by thermal deformation of the optical window is 138.2 nm, which is under PV ≤1 4λ . The above study can be used as an important reference for other optical window designs.

  19. Configuration and specifications of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for early site specific weed management.

    PubMed

    Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; López-Granados, Francisca; De Castro, Ana Isabel; Peña-Barragán, José Manuel

    2013-01-01

    A new aerial platform has risen recently for image acquisition, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). This article describes the technical specifications and configuration of a UAV used to capture remote images for early season site- specific weed management (ESSWM). Image spatial and spectral properties required for weed seedling discrimination were also evaluated. Two different sensors, a still visible camera and a six-band multispectral camera, and three flight altitudes (30, 60 and 100 m) were tested over a naturally infested sunflower field. The main phases of the UAV workflow were the following: 1) mission planning, 2) UAV flight and image acquisition, and 3) image pre-processing. Three different aspects were needed to plan the route: flight area, camera specifications and UAV tasks. The pre-processing phase included the correct alignment of the six bands of the multispectral imagery and the orthorectification and mosaicking of the individual images captured in each flight. The image pixel size, area covered by each image and flight timing were very sensitive to flight altitude. At a lower altitude, the UAV captured images of finer spatial resolution, although the number of images needed to cover the whole field may be a limiting factor due to the energy required for a greater flight length and computational requirements for the further mosaicking process. Spectral differences between weeds, crop and bare soil were significant in the vegetation indices studied (Excess Green Index, Normalised Green-Red Difference Index and Normalised Difference Vegetation Index), mainly at a 30 m altitude. However, greater spectral separability was obtained between vegetation and bare soil with the index NDVI. These results suggest that an agreement among spectral and spatial resolutions is needed to optimise the flight mission according to every agronomical objective as affected by the size of the smaller object to be discriminated (weed plants or weed patches). PMID:23483997

  20. Configuration and Specifications of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for Early Site Specific Weed Management

    PubMed Central

    Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; López-Granados, Francisca; De Castro, Ana Isabel; Peña-Barragán, José Manuel

    2013-01-01

    A new aerial platform has risen recently for image acquisition, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). This article describes the technical specifications and configuration of a UAV used to capture remote images for early season site- specific weed management (ESSWM). Image spatial and spectral properties required for weed seedling discrimination were also evaluated. Two different sensors, a still visible camera and a six-band multispectral camera, and three flight altitudes (30, 60 and 100 m) were tested over a naturally infested sunflower field. The main phases of the UAV workflow were the following: 1) mission planning, 2) UAV flight and image acquisition, and 3) image pre-processing. Three different aspects were needed to plan the route: flight area, camera specifications and UAV tasks. The pre-processing phase included the correct alignment of the six bands of the multispectral imagery and the orthorectification and mosaicking of the individual images captured in each flight. The image pixel size, area covered by each image and flight timing were very sensitive to flight altitude. At a lower altitude, the UAV captured images of finer spatial resolution, although the number of images needed to cover the whole field may be a limiting factor due to the energy required for a greater flight length and computational requirements for the further mosaicking process. Spectral differences between weeds, crop and bare soil were significant in the vegetation indices studied (Excess Green Index, Normalised Green-Red Difference Index and Normalised Difference Vegetation Index), mainly at a 30 m altitude. However, greater spectral separability was obtained between vegetation and bare soil with the index NDVI. These results suggest that an agreement among spectral and spatial resolutions is needed to optimise the flight mission according to every agronomical objective as affected by the size of the smaller object to be discriminated (weed plants or weed patches). PMID:23483997

  1. Monitoring agricultural crops using a light-weight hyperspectral mapping system for unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kooistra, Lammert; Suomalainen, Juha; Franke, Jappe; Bartholomeus, Harm; Mücher, Sander; Becker, Rolf

    2014-05-01

    Remote sensing has been identified as a key technology to allow near real-time detection and diagnosis of crop status at the field level. Although satellite based remote sensing techniques have already proven to be relevant for many requirements of crop inventory and monitoring, they might lack flexibility to support anomaly detection at specific moments over the growing season. Imagery taken from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are shown to be an effective alternative platform for crop monitoring, given their potential of high spatial and temporal resolution, and their high flexibility in image acquisition programming. In addition, several studies have shown that an increased spectral resolution as available from hyperspectral systems provide the opportunity to estimate biophysical properties like leaf-area-index (LAI), chlorophyll and leaf water content with improved accuracies. To investigate the opportunities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in operational crop monitoring, we have developed a light-weight hyperspectral mapping system (< 2 kg) suitable to be mounted on small UAVs. Its composed of an octocopter UAV-platform with a pushbroom spectrometer consisting of a spectrograph, an industrial camera functioning as frame grabber, storage device, and computer, a separate INS and finally a photogrammetric camera. The system is able to produce georeferenced and georectified hyperspectral data cubes in the 400-1000 nm spectral range at 10-50 cm resolution. The system is tested in a fertilization experiment for a potato crop on a 12 ha experimental field in the South of the Netherlands. In the experiment UAV-based hyperspectral images were acquired on a weekly basis together with field data on chlorophyll as indicator for the nitrogen situation of the crop and leaf area index (LAI) as indicator for biomass status. Initially, the quality aspects of the developed light-weight hyperspectral mapping system will presented with regard to its radiometric and geometric

  2. Challenges in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Photogrammetry for Archaeological Mapping at High Elevations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adams, J. A.; Wernke, S.

    2015-12-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), especially multi-rotor vehicles, are becoming ubiquitous and their appeal for generating photogrammetry-based maps has grown. The options are many and costs have plummeted in last five years; however, many challenges persist with their deployment. We mapped the archaeological site Maw­chu Llacta, a settlement in the southern highlands of Peru (Figure 1). Mawchu Llacta is a planned colonial town built over a major Inka-era center in the high-elevation grasslands at ~4,000m asl. The "general resettlement of Indians" was a massive forced resettlement program, for which very little local-level documentation exists. Mawachu Llacta's excellently preserved architecture includes >500 buildings and hundreds of walls spread across ~13h posed significant mapping challenges. Many environmental factors impact UAV deployment. The air pressure at 4,100 m asl is dramatically lower than at sea level. The dry season diurnal temperature differentials can vary from 7°C to 22°C daily. High and hot conditions frequently occur from late morning to early afternoon. Reaching Mawchu Llacta requires hiking 4km with 400m of vertical gain over steep and rocky terrain. There is also no on-site power or secure storage. Thus, the UAV must be packable. FAA regulations govern US UAV deployments, but regulations were less stringent in Peru. However, ITAR exemptions and Peruvian customs requirements were required. The Peruvian government has established an importation and approval process that entails leaving the UAV at customs, while obtaining the necessary government approvals, both of which can be problematic. We have deployed the Aurora Flight Sciences Skate fixed wing ßUAV, an in-house fixed wing UAV based on the Skywalker X-5 flying wing, and a tethered 9 m3 capacity latex meteorological weather balloon. Development of an autonomous blimp/balloon has been ruled-out. A 3DR Solo is being assessed for excavation mapping.

  3. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for High-Throughput Phenotyping and Agronomic Research

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Yeyin; Thomasson, J. Alex; Murray, Seth C.; Pugh, N. Ace; Rooney, William L.; Shafian, Sanaz; Rajan, Nithya; Rouze, Gregory; Morgan, Cristine L. S.; Neely, Haly L.; Rana, Aman; Bagavathiannan, Muthu V.; Henrickson, James; Bowden, Ezekiel; Valasek, John; Olsenholler, Jeff; Bishop, Michael P.; Sheridan, Ryan; Putman, Eric B.; Popescu, Sorin; Burks, Travis; Cope, Dale; Ibrahim, Amir; McCutchen, Billy F.; Baltensperger, David D.; Avant, Robert V.; Vidrine, Misty; Yang, Chenghai

    2016-01-01

    Advances in automation and data science have led agriculturists to seek real-time, high-quality, high-volume crop data to accelerate crop improvement through breeding and to optimize agronomic practices. Breeders have recently gained massive data-collection capability in genome sequencing of plants. Faster phenotypic trait data collection and analysis relative to genetic data leads to faster and better selections in crop improvement. Furthermore, faster and higher-resolution crop data collection leads to greater capability for scientists and growers to improve precision-agriculture practices on increasingly larger farms; e.g., site-specific application of water and nutrients. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have recently gained traction as agricultural data collection systems. Using UAVs for agricultural remote sensing is an innovative technology that differs from traditional remote sensing in more ways than strictly higher-resolution images; it provides many new and unique possibilities, as well as new and unique challenges. Herein we report on processes and lessons learned from year 1—the summer 2015 and winter 2016 growing seasons–of a large multidisciplinary project evaluating UAV images across a range of breeding and agronomic research trials on a large research farm. Included are team and project planning, UAV and sensor selection and integration, and data collection and analysis workflow. The study involved many crops and both breeding plots and agronomic fields. The project’s goal was to develop methods for UAVs to collect high-quality, high-volume crop data with fast turnaround time to field scientists. The project included five teams: Administration, Flight Operations, Sensors, Data Management, and Field Research. Four case studies involving multiple crops in breeding and agronomic applications add practical descriptive detail. Lessons learned include critical information on sensors, air vehicles, and configuration parameters for both. As the first

  4. Data Acquisition (DAQ) system dedicated for remote sensing applications on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keleshis, C.; Ioannou, S.; Vrekoussis, M.; Levin, Z.; Lange, M. A.

    2014-08-01

    Continuous advances in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and the increased complexity of their applications raise the demand for improved data acquisition systems (DAQ). These improvements may comprise low power consumption, low volume and weight, robustness, modularity and capability to interface with various sensors and peripherals while maintaining the high sampling rates and processing speeds. Such a system has been designed and developed and is currently integrated on the Autonomous Flying Platforms for Atmospheric and Earth Surface Observations (APAESO/NEA-YΠOΔOMH/NEKΠ/0308/09) however, it can be easily adapted to any UAV or any other mobile vehicle. The system consists of a single-board computer with a dual-core processor, rugged surface-mount memory and storage device, analog and digital input-output ports and many other peripherals that enhance its connectivity with various sensors, imagers and on-board devices. The system is powered by a high efficiency power supply board. Additional boards such as frame-grabbers, differential global positioning system (DGPS) satellite receivers, general packet radio service (3G-4G-GPRS) modems for communication redundancy have been interfaced to the core system and are used whenever there is a mission need. The onboard DAQ system can be preprogrammed for automatic data acquisition or it can be remotely operated during the flight from the ground control station (GCS) using a graphical user interface (GUI) which has been developed and will also be presented in this paper. The unique design of the GUI and the DAQ system enables the synchronized acquisition of a variety of scientific and UAV flight data in a single core location. The new DAQ system and the GUI have been successfully utilized in several scientific UAV missions. In conclusion, the novel DAQ system provides the UAV and the remote-sensing community with a new tool capable of reliably acquiring, processing, storing and transmitting data from any sensor integrated

  5. Pedestrian Detection and Tracking from Low-Resolution Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Thermal Imagery

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Yalong; Wu, Xinkai; Yu, Guizhen; Xu, Yongzheng; Wang, Yunpeng

    2016-01-01

    Driven by the prominent thermal signature of humans and following the growing availability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more and more research efforts have been focusing on the detection and tracking of pedestrians using thermal infrared images recorded from UAVs. However, pedestrian detection and tracking from the thermal images obtained from UAVs pose many challenges due to the low-resolution of imagery, platform motion, image instability and the relatively small size of the objects. This research tackles these challenges by proposing a pedestrian detection and tracking system. A two-stage blob-based approach is first developed for pedestrian detection. This approach first extracts pedestrian blobs using the regional gradient feature and geometric constraints filtering and then classifies the detected blobs by using a linear Support Vector Machine (SVM) with a hybrid descriptor, which sophisticatedly combines Histogram of Oriented Gradient (HOG) and Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) features in order to achieve accurate detection. This research further proposes an approach for pedestrian tracking. This approach employs the feature tracker with the update of detected pedestrian location to track pedestrian objects from the registered videos and extracts the motion trajectory data. The proposed detection and tracking approaches have been evaluated by multiple different datasets, and the results illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed methods. This research is expected to significantly benefit many transportation applications, such as the multimodal traffic performance measure, pedestrian behavior study and pedestrian-vehicle crash analysis. Future work will focus on using fused thermal and visual images to further improve the detection efficiency and effectiveness. PMID:27023564

  6. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for High-Throughput Phenotyping and Agronomic Research.

    PubMed

    Shi, Yeyin; Thomasson, J Alex; Murray, Seth C; Pugh, N Ace; Rooney, William L; Shafian, Sanaz; Rajan, Nithya; Rouze, Gregory; Morgan, Cristine L S; Neely, Haly L; Rana, Aman; Bagavathiannan, Muthu V; Henrickson, James; Bowden, Ezekiel; Valasek, John; Olsenholler, Jeff; Bishop, Michael P; Sheridan, Ryan; Putman, Eric B; Popescu, Sorin; Burks, Travis; Cope, Dale; Ibrahim, Amir; McCutchen, Billy F; Baltensperger, David D; Avant, Robert V; Vidrine, Misty; Yang, Chenghai

    2016-01-01

    Advances in automation and data science have led agriculturists to seek real-time, high-quality, high-volume crop data to accelerate crop improvement through breeding and to optimize agronomic practices. Breeders have recently gained massive data-collection capability in genome sequencing of plants. Faster phenotypic trait data collection and analysis relative to genetic data leads to faster and better selections in crop improvement. Furthermore, faster and higher-resolution crop data collection leads to greater capability for scientists and growers to improve precision-agriculture practices on increasingly larger farms; e.g., site-specific application of water and nutrients. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have recently gained traction as agricultural data collection systems. Using UAVs for agricultural remote sensing is an innovative technology that differs from traditional remote sensing in more ways than strictly higher-resolution images; it provides many new and unique possibilities, as well as new and unique challenges. Herein we report on processes and lessons learned from year 1-the summer 2015 and winter 2016 growing seasons-of a large multidisciplinary project evaluating UAV images across a range of breeding and agronomic research trials on a large research farm. Included are team and project planning, UAV and sensor selection and integration, and data collection and analysis workflow. The study involved many crops and both breeding plots and agronomic fields. The project's goal was to develop methods for UAVs to collect high-quality, high-volume crop data with fast turnaround time to field scientists. The project included five teams: Administration, Flight Operations, Sensors, Data Management, and Field Research. Four case studies involving multiple crops in breeding and agronomic applications add practical descriptive detail. Lessons learned include critical information on sensors, air vehicles, and configuration parameters for both. As the first and

  7. Pedestrian Detection and Tracking from Low-Resolution Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Thermal Imagery.

    PubMed

    Ma, Yalong; Wu, Xinkai; Yu, Guizhen; Xu, Yongzheng; Wang, Yunpeng

    2016-01-01

    Driven by the prominent thermal signature of humans and following the growing availability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more and more research efforts have been focusing on the detection and tracking of pedestrians using thermal infrared images recorded from UAVs. However, pedestrian detection and tracking from the thermal images obtained from UAVs pose many challenges due to the low-resolution of imagery, platform motion, image instability and the relatively small size of the objects. This research tackles these challenges by proposing a pedestrian detection and tracking system. A two-stage blob-based approach is first developed for pedestrian detection. This approach first extracts pedestrian blobs using the regional gradient feature and geometric constraints filtering and then classifies the detected blobs by using a linear Support Vector Machine (SVM) with a hybrid descriptor, which sophisticatedly combines Histogram of Oriented Gradient (HOG) and Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) features in order to achieve accurate detection. This research further proposes an approach for pedestrian tracking. This approach employs the feature tracker with the update of detected pedestrian location to track pedestrian objects from the registered videos and extracts the motion trajectory data. The proposed detection and tracking approaches have been evaluated by multiple different datasets, and the results illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed methods. This research is expected to significantly benefit many transportation applications, such as the multimodal traffic performance measure, pedestrian behavior study and pedestrian-vehicle crash analysis. Future work will focus on using fused thermal and visual images to further improve the detection efficiency and effectiveness. PMID:27023564

  8. Design of a nonlinear robust controller for a complete unmanned aerial vehicle mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sadraey, Mohammad Hashem

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight control systems must be capable of delivering the required performance while handling nonlinearities and uncertainties in the vehicle model, the atmosphere, and ambient wind. These factors necessitate the development of nonlinear flight control system design methods that can handle large nonlinearities and uncertainties. Variable approaches to the linear control of UAVs have been discussed in the recent literature. However, the development of a nonlinear robust autopilot has not been addressed to any significant degree. The development of a nonlinear autopilot based on robust control methods will be discussed in this dissertation. In this design technique, the nonlinear UAV model is not linearized. The control law is designed using the Hinfinity technique. This dissertation presents the results of an exploratory study to examine robust autopilot nonlinear design methods for the UAV and compare this new approach with existing PID, LQR, and linear Hinfinity techniques. Since the method must then be verified, its flight simulation will be done using MATLAB/SIMULINK. Verification, validation and robustness tests are documented at the end of this dissertation. The airplane examined is called the Hawkeye. It was designed and built by KU students in the fall of 2004. It is a small, 14 foot wingspan, remotely controlled airplane made from composite materials with a maximum takeoff weight of 90 lbs. It will be used in the future as a small UAV for research programs at KU. The mission includes take-off, climb, cruise, a one and a half circle accomplished in a level turn, and a return back to its original airfield accomplished by cruising back, descending, and completing an approach and landing. After take-off, the airplane is required to climb to 1,000 ft altitude, and then it travels 5,000 ft over the ground into the target area. It will then take some photos of that target using its camera. The complete mission for the UAV lasts about

  9. Cultivated land information extraction from high-resolution unmanned aerial vehicle imagery data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Lei; Cheng, Liang; Han, Wenquan; Zhong, Lishan; Li, Manchun

    2014-01-01

    The development of precision agriculture demands high accuracy and efficiency of cultivated land information extraction. Simultaneously, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been increasingly used for natural resource applications in recent years as a result of their greater availability, the miniaturization of sensors, and the ability to deploy UAVs relatively quickly and repeatedly at low altitudes. We examine the potential of utilizing a small UAV for the characterization, assessment, and monitoring of cultivated land. Because most UAV images lack spectral information, we propose a novel cultivated land information extraction method based on a triangulation for cultivated land information extraction (TCLE) method. Thus, the information on more spatial properties of a region is incorporated into the classification process. The TCLE comprises three main steps: image segmentation, triangulation construction, and triangulation clustering using AUTOCLUST. Experiments were conducted on three UAV images in Deyang, China, using TCLE and eCognition for cultivated land information extraction (ECLE). Experimental results show that TCLE, which does not require training samples and has a much higher level of automation, can obtain accuracies equivalent to ECLE. Comparing with ECLE, TCLE also extracts coherent cultivated land with much less noise. As such, cultivated land information extraction based on high-resolution UAV images can be effectively and efficiently conducted using the proposed method.

  10. An ultracompact laser terrain mapper for deployment onboard unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hussein, Marwan W.; Tripp, Jeffrey W.; Hill, Brian R.

    2009-05-01

    Airborne laser terrain mapping systems have redefined the realm of topographic mapping. Lidars with kilohertz collection rates and long ranges have made airborne surveying a quick, efficient and highly productive endeavor. Despite the current industry efforts toward improving airborne lidar range, collection rate, resolution and accuracies, and with the advent of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and their myriad advantages, military and civil applications alike are looking for very compact and rugged lidar systems that can fit within the tight volumetric, form-factor, mass and power constraints imposed by UAVs. Optech has developed a very compact airborne laser terrain mapper that's geared toward UAV deployment. The system is composed of a highly integrated unit that combines a lidar transceiver, a position orientation sensor and control electronics in a 1 cubic foot - 57 lb package. Such level of compactness is achieved by employing the latest laser technology trends along with featuring very compact optical design, and using the latest control and data collection architecture technology. This paper describes the UAV requirements that drove the system design, the technology employed and optimizations implemented in the system to achieve its ultra-compact size.

  11. The application of the unmanned aerial vehicle remote sensing technology in the FAST project construction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Boqin

    2015-08-01

    The purpose of using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing application in Five-hundred-meter aperture spherical telescope (FAST) project is to dynamically record the construction process with high resolution image, monitor the environmental impact, and provide services for local environmental protection and the reserve immigrants. This paper introduces the use of UAV remote sensing system and the course design and implementation for the FAST site. Through the analysis of the time series data, we found that: (1) since the year 2012, the project has been widely carried out; (2) till 2013, the internal project begun to take shape;(3) engineering excavation scope was kept stable in 2014, and the initial scale of the FAST engineering construction has emerged as in the meantime, the vegetation recovery went well on the bare soil area; (4) in 2015, none environmental problems caused by engineering construction and other engineering geological disaster were found in the work area through the image interpretation of UAV images. This paper also suggested that the UAV technology need some improvements to fulfill the requirements of surveying and mapping specification., including a new data acquisition and processing measures assigned with the background of highly diverse elevation, usage of telephoto camera, hierarchical photography with different flying height, and adjustment with terrain using the joint empty three settlement method.

  12. An Overview of Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Air Quality Measurements: Present Applications and Future Prospectives

    PubMed Central

    Villa, Tommaso Francesco; Gonzalez, Felipe; Miljievic, Branka; Ristovski, Zoran D.; Morawska, Lidia

    2016-01-01

    Assessment of air quality has been traditionally conducted by ground based monitoring, and more recently by manned aircrafts and satellites. However, performing fast, comprehensive data collection near pollution sources is not always feasible due to the complexity of sites, moving sources or physical barriers. Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with different sensors have been introduced for in-situ air quality monitoring, as they can offer new approaches and research opportunities in air pollution and emission monitoring, as well as for studying atmospheric trends, such as climate change, while ensuring urban and industrial air safety. The aims of this review were to: (1) compile information on the use of UAVs for air quality studies; and (2) assess their benefits and range of applications. An extensive literature review was conducted using three bibliographic databases (Scopus, Web of Knowledge, Google Scholar) and a total of 60 papers was found. This relatively small number of papers implies that the field is still in its early stages of development. We concluded that, while the potential of UAVs for air quality research has been established, several challenges still need to be addressed, including: the flight endurance, payload capacity, sensor dimensions/accuracy, and sensitivity. However, the challenges are not simply technological, in fact, policy and regulations, which differ between countries, represent the greatest challenge to facilitating the wider use of UAVs in atmospheric research. PMID:27420065

  13. Development of a small unmanned aerial vehicle for thermodynamic and Ozone concentration measurement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, G.; Illingworth, S. M.; Percival, C.; Hayes, H.; Hollingsworth, P.; Gallagher, M. W.

    2013-12-01

    This study will demonstrate novel measurements of in-situ ozone (O3) concentrations and thermodynamics sampled on-board an instrumented Skywalker Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Remotely piloted flights were conducted at Hough End and Heaton Park, Manchester, UK on 28th June 2012. The Skywalker was equipped with an adapted Vaisala electrochemical cell ozonesonde measuring O3 concentrations at 0.5 Hz and a RS92-KE radiosonde measuring pressure, temperature and humidity. Small local and temporal 3D gradients were observed corresponding to changes attributable to micrometeorology and local chemistry with changes to airmass background noted by back trajectory analysis. The ability to sample subtle variability over a localised 3D frame, such as enabled by the techniques demonstrated in this study, highlights the important and novel capabilities of UAVs to rapidly characterise local area micrometeorology and chemistry, as well as area-emissions, and fence-line inputs. By comparing to ground-based in situ measurements taken by the Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN), and taking into account local meteorological conditions, it was found that the UAV measured O3 was a reliable indicator of background O3 concentrations at the urban scale whilst revealing additional local variability important for air quality monitoring and related policy obligations.

  14. Development of a small unmanned aerial vehicle for thermodynamic and trace gas concentration measurement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Illingworth, Samuel; Allen, Grant; Percival, Carl; Gallagher, Martin; Ricketts, Hugo; Hollingsworth, Peter; Hayes, Harry; Roberts, Gareth; Ladosz, Pawel; Crawley, David

    2014-05-01

    This study will demonstrate novel measurements of in-situ trace gas concentrations and thermodynamics sampled on-board an instrumented Skywalker Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Remotely piloted flights were conducted at in Manchester, UK, with the Skywalker equipped with an adapted Vaisala electrochemical cell ozonesonde measuring O3 concentrations at 0.5 Hz, and a RS92-KE radiosonde measuring pressure, temperature and humidity. Small local and temporal 3D gradients were observed corresponding to changes attributable to micrometeorology and local chemistry with changes to airmass background noted by back trajectory analysis. The ability to sample subtle variability over a localised 3D frame, such as enabled by the techniques demonstrated in this study, highlights the important and novel capabilities of UAVs to rapidly characterise local area micrometeorology and chemistry, as well as area-emissions, and fence-line inputs. By comparing to ground-based in situ measurement, and taking into account local meteorological conditions, it was found that the UAV measured concentrations were a reliable indicator of background concentrations at the urban scale whilst revealing additional local variability important for air quality monitoring and related policy obligations.

  15. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizing Wildlife Monitoring and Conservation

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez, Luis F.; Montes, Glen A.; Puig, Eduard; Johnson, Sandra; Mengersen, Kerrie; Gaston, Kevin J.

    2016-01-01

    Surveying threatened and invasive species to obtain accurate population estimates is an important but challenging task that requires a considerable investment in time and resources. Estimates using existing ground-based monitoring techniques, such as camera traps and surveys performed on foot, are known to be resource intensive, potentially inaccurate and imprecise, and difficult to validate. Recent developments in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), artificial intelligence and miniaturized thermal imaging systems represent a new opportunity for wildlife experts to inexpensively survey relatively large areas. The system presented in this paper includes thermal image acquisition as well as a video processing pipeline to perform object detection, classification and tracking of wildlife in forest or open areas. The system is tested on thermal video data from ground based and test flight footage, and is found to be able to detect all the target wildlife located in the surveyed area. The system is flexible in that the user can readily define the types of objects to classify and the object characteristics that should be considered during classification. PMID:26784196

  16. Simultaneous observations of aerosol–cloud–albedo interactions with three stacked unmanned aerial vehicles

    PubMed Central

    Roberts, G. C.; Ramana, M. V.; Corrigan, C.; Kim, D.; Ramanathan, V.

    2008-01-01

    Aerosol impacts on climate change are still poorly understood, in part, because the few observations and methods for detecting their effects are not well established. For the first time, the enhancement in cloud albedo is directly measured on a cloud-by-cloud basis and linked to increasing aerosol concentrations by using multiple autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles to simultaneously observe the cloud microphysics, vertical aerosol distribution, and associated solar radiative fluxes. In the presence of long-range transport of dust and anthropogenic pollution, the trade cumuli have higher droplet concentrations and are on average brighter. Our observations suggest a higher sensitivity of radiative forcing by trade cumuli to increases in cloud droplet concentrations than previously reported owing to a constrained droplet radius such that increases in droplet concentrations also increase cloud liquid water content. This aerosol-cloud forcing efficiency is as much as −60 W m−2 per 100% percent cloud fraction for a doubling of droplet concentrations and associated increase of liquid water content. Finally, we develop a strategy for detecting aerosol–cloud interactions based on a nondimensional scaling analysis that relates the contribution of single clouds to albedo measurements and illustrates the significance of characterizing cloud morphology in resolving radiometric measurements. This study demonstrates that aerosol–cloud–albedo interactions can be directly observed by simultaneous observations below, in, and above the clouds. PMID:18499803

  17. Telesurgery via Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with a field deployable surgical robot.

    PubMed

    Lum, Mitchell J H; Rosen, Jacob; King, Hawkeye; Friedman, Diana C W; Donlin, Gina; Sankaranarayanan, Ganesh; Harnett, Brett; Huffman, Lynn; Doarn, Charles; Broderick, Timothy; Hannaford, Blake

    2007-01-01

    Robotically assisted surgery stands to further revolutionize the medical field and provide patients with more effective healthcare. Most robotically assisted surgeries are teleoperated from the surgeon console to the patient where both ends of the system are located in the operating room. The challenge of surgical teleoperation across a long distance was already demonstrated through a wired communication network in 2001. New development has shifted towards deploying a surgical robot system in mobile settings and/or extreme environments such as the battlefield or natural disaster areas with surgeons operating wirelessly. As a collaborator in the HAPs/MRT (High Altitude Platform/Mobile Robotic Telesurgery) project, The University of Washington surgical robot was deployed in the desert of Simi Valley, CA for telesurgery experiments on an inanimate model via wireless communication through an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The surgical tasks were performed telerobotically with a maximum time delay between the surgeon's console (master) and the surgical robot (slave) of 20 ms for the robotic control signals and 200 ms for the video stream. This was our first experiment in the area of Mobile Robotic Telesurgery (MRT). The creation and initial testing of a deployable surgical robot system will facilitate growth in this area eventually leading to future systems saving human lives in disaster areas, on the battlefield or in other remote environments. PMID:17377292

  18. An Examination of Drag Reduction Mechanisms in Marine Animals, with Potential Applications to Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Musick, John A.; Patterson, Mark R.; Dowd, Wesley W.

    2002-01-01

    Previous engineering research and development has documented the plausibility of applying biomimetic approaches to aerospace engineering. Past cooperation between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and NASA focused on the drag reduction qualities of the microscale dermal denticles of shark skin. This technology has subsequently been applied to submarines and aircraft. The present study aims to identify and document the three-dimensional geometry of additional macroscale morphologies that potentially confer drag reducing hydrodynamic qualities upon marine animals and which could be applied to enhance the range and endurance of Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Such morphologies have evolved over eons to maximize organismal energetic efficiency by reducing the energetic input required to maintain cruising speeds in the viscous marine environment. These drag reduction qualities are manifested in several groups of active marine animals commonly encountered by ongoing VIMS research programs: namely sharks, bony fishes such as tunas, and sea turtles. Through spatial data acquired by molding and digital imagery analysis of marine specimens provided by VIMS, NASA aims to construct scale models of these features and to test these potential drag reduction morphologies for application to aircraft design. This report addresses the efforts of VIMS and NASA personnel on this project between January and November 2001.

  19. Mobile Stereo-Mapper a Portable Kit for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li-Chee-Ming, J.; Armenakis, C.; Lee, R.

    2011-09-01

    A low-cost portable light-weight mobile stereo-mapping system (MSMS) is under development in the GeoICT Lab, Geomatics Engineering program at York University. The MSMS is designed for remote operation on board unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for navigation and rapid collection of 3D spatial data. Pose estimation of the camera sensors is based on single frequency RTK-GPS, loosely coupled in a Kalman filter with MEMS-based IMU. The attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) calculates orientation from the gyro data, aided by accelerometer and magnetometer data to compensate for gyro drift. Two low-cost consumer digital cameras are calibrated and time-synchronized with the GPS/IMU to provide direct georeferenced stereo vision, while a video camera is used for navigation. Object coordinates are determined using rigorous photogrammetric solutions supported by direct georefencing algorithms for accurate pose estimation of the camera sensors. Before the MSMS is considered operational its sensor components and the integrated system itself has to undergo a rigorous calibration process to determine systematic errors and biases and to determine the relative geometry of the sensors. In this paper, the methods and results for system calibration, including camera, boresight and leverarm calibrations are presented. An overall accuracy assessment of the calibrated system is given using a 3D test field.

  20. Spatial Quality Evaluation of Resampled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Imagery for Weed Mapping.

    PubMed

    Borra-Serrano, Irene; Peña, José Manuel; Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; Mesas-Carrascosa, Francisco Javier; López-Granados, Francisca

    2015-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) combined with different spectral range sensors are an emerging technology for providing early weed maps for optimizing herbicide applications. Considering that weeds, at very early phenological stages, are similar spectrally and in appearance, three major components are relevant: spatial resolution, type of sensor and classification algorithm. Resampling is a technique to create a new version of an image with a different width and/or height in pixels, and it has been used in satellite imagery with different spatial and temporal resolutions. In this paper, the efficiency of resampled-images (RS-images) created from real UAV-images (UAV-images; the UAVs were equipped with two types of sensors, i.e., visible and visible plus near-infrared spectra) captured at different altitudes is examined to test the quality of the RS-image output. The performance of the object-based-image-analysis (OBIA) implemented for the early weed mapping using different weed thresholds was also evaluated. Our results showed that resampling accurately extracted the spectral values from high spatial resolution UAV-images at an altitude of 30 m and the RS-image data at altitudes of 60 and 100 m, was able to provide accurate weed cover and herbicide application maps compared with UAV-images from real flights. PMID:26274960

  1. Spatial Quality Evaluation of Resampled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Imagery for Weed Mapping

    PubMed Central

    Borra-Serrano, Irene; Peña, José Manuel; Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; Mesas-Carrascosa, Francisco Javier; López-Granados, Francisca

    2015-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) combined with different spectral range sensors are an emerging technology for providing early weed maps for optimizing herbicide applications. Considering that weeds, at very early phenological stages, are similar spectrally and in appearance, three major components are relevant: spatial resolution, type of sensor and classification algorithm. Resampling is a technique to create a new version of an image with a different width and/or height in pixels, and it has been used in satellite imagery with different spatial and temporal resolutions. In this paper, the efficiency of resampled-images (RS-images) created from real UAV-images (UAV-images; the UAVs were equipped with two types of sensors, i.e., visible and visible plus near-infrared spectra) captured at different altitudes is examined to test the quality of the RS-image output. The performance of the object-based-image-analysis (OBIA) implemented for the early weed mapping using different weed thresholds was also evaluated. Our results showed that resampling accurately extracted the spectral values from high spatial resolution UAV-images at an altitude of 30 m and the RS-image data at altitudes of 60 and 100 m, was able to provide accurate weed cover and herbicide application maps compared with UAV-images from real flights. PMID:26274960

  2. Configuration and Specifications of AN Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Precision Agriculture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erena, M.; Montesinos, S.; Portillo, D.; Alvarez, J.; Marin, C.; Fernandez, L.; Henarejos, J. M.; Ruiz, L. A.

    2016-06-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with multispectral sensors are increasingly attractive in geosciences for data capture and map updating at high spatial and temporal resolutions. These autonomously-flying systems can be equipped with different sensors, such as a six-band multispectral camera (Tetracam mini-MCA-6), GPS Ublox M8N, and MEMS gyroscopes, and miniaturized sensor systems for navigation, positioning, and mapping purposes. These systems can be used for data collection in precision viticulture. In this study, the efficiency of a light UAV system for data collection, processing, and map updating in small areas is evaluated, generating correlations between classification maps derived from remote sensing and production maps. Based on the comparison of the indices derived from UAVs incorporating infrared sensors with those obtained by satellites (Sentinel 2A and Landsat 8), UAVs show promise for the characterization of vineyard plots with high spatial variability, despite the low vegetative coverage of these crops. Consequently, a procedure for zoning map production based on UAV/UV images could provide important information for farmers.

  3. Performance test of a 6 L liquid hydrogen fuel tank for unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garceau, N. M.; Kim, S. Y.; Lim, C. M.; Cho, M. J.; Kim, K. Y.; Baik, J. H.

    2015-12-01

    A 6 L liquid hydrogen fuel tank has been designed, fabricated and tested to optimize boil-off rate and minimize weight for a 200 W light weight fuel cell in an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The 200 W fuel cell required a maximum flow rate of 2.3 SLPM or less liquid hydrogen boil-off from the fuel tank. After looking at several different insulation schemes, the system was optimized as two concentric lightweight aluminum cylinders with high vacuum and multi-layer insulation in between. MLI thickness and support structures were designed to minimize the tank weight. For support, filling and feed gas to a fuel-cell, the system was designed with two G-10 CR tubes which connected the inner vessel to the outer shell. A secondary G10-CR support structure was also added to ensure stability and durability during a flight. After fabrication the fuel tank was filled with liquid hydrogen. A series of boil-off tests were performed in various operating conditions to confirm thermal performance of the fuel tank for a 200 W fuel cell.

  4. State transformation-based dynamic visual servoing for an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xie, Hui; Lynch, Alan F.

    2016-05-01

    In this paper, we propose a visual servoing control for a quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is based on a state transformation technique. The UAV is equipped with a single downwards facing camera, and the motion control objective is the regulation of relative displacement and yaw to a stationary visual target located on the ground. The state transformation is defined by a system of partial differential equations (PDEs) which eliminate roll and pitch rate dependence in the transformed image feature kinematics. A method for computing the general solutions of these PDEs is given, and we show a particular solution reduces to an established virtual camera approach. We treat point and line cases and introduce image moment features defined in the virtual camera image plane. Robustness of the control design is improved by accounting for attitude measurement bias, and uncertainty in thrust gain, mass, and image feature depth. The asymptotic stability of the closed-loop is proven. The method is based on a simple proportional-integral-derivative (PID) structure which can be readily implemented on-board. Experimental results show improved performance relative to previous work.

  5. Construction of an unmanned aerial vehicle remote sensing system for crop monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeong, Seungtaek; Ko, Jonghan; Kim, Mijeong; Kim, Jongkwon

    2016-04-01

    We constructed a lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing system and determined the ideal method for equipment setup, image acquisition, and image processing. Fields of rice paddy (Oryza sativa cv. Unkwang) grown under three different nitrogen (N) treatments of 0, 50, or 115 kg/ha were monitored at Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea, in 2013. A multispectral camera was used to acquire UAV images from the study site. Atmospheric correction of these images was completed using the empirical line method, and three-point (black, gray, and white) calibration boards were used as pseudo references. Evaluation of our corrected UAV-based remote sensing data revealed that correction efficiency and root mean square errors ranged from 0.77 to 0.95 and 0.01 to 0.05, respectively. The time series maps of simulated normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) produced using the UAV images reproduced field variations of NDVI reasonably well, both within and between the different N treatments. We concluded that the UAV-based remote sensing technology utilized in this study is potentially an easy and simple way to quantitatively obtain reliable two-dimensional remote sensing information on crop growth.

  6. Low-cost, quantitative assessment of highway bridges through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellenberg, Andrew; Kontsos, Antonios; Moon, Franklin; Bartoli, Ivan

    2016-04-01

    Many envision that in the near future the application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will impact the civil engineering industry. Use of UAVs is currently experiencing tremendous growth, primarily in military and homeland security applications. It is only a matter of time until UAVs will be widely accepted as platforms for implementing monitoring/surveillance and inspection in other fields. Most UAVs already have payloads as well as hardware/software capabilities to incorporate a number of non-contact remote sensors, such as high resolution cameras, multi-spectral imaging systems, and laser ranging systems (LIDARs). Of critical importance to realizing the potential of UAVs within the infrastructure realm is to establish how (and the extent to which) such information may be used to inform preservation and renewal decisions. Achieving this will depend both on our ability to quantify information from images (through, for example, optical metrology techniques) and to fuse data from the array of non-contact sensing systems. Through a series of applications to both laboratory-scale and field implementations on operating infrastructure, this paper will present and evaluate (through comparison with conventional approaches) various image processing and data fusion strategies tailored specifically for the assessment of highway bridges. Example scenarios that guided this study include the assessment of delaminations within reinforced concrete bridge decks, the quantification of the deterioration of steel coatings, assessment of the functionality of movement mechanisms, and the estimation of live load responses (inclusive of both strain and displacement).

  7. Multi-temporal high resolution monitoring of debris-covered glaciers using unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kraaijenbrink, Philip; Immerzeel, Walter; de Jong, Steven; Shea, Joseph; Pellicciotti, Francesca; Meijer, Sander; Shresta, Arun

    2016-04-01

    Debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas are relatively unstudied due to the difficulties in fieldwork caused by the inaccessible terrain and the presence of debris layers, which complicate in situ measurements. To overcome these difficulties an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been deployed multiple times over two debris covered glaciers in the Langtang catchment, located in the Nepalese Himalayas. Using differential GPS measurements and the Structure for Motion algorithm the UAV imagery was processed into accurate high-resolution digital elevation models and orthomosaics for both pre- and post-monsoon periods. These data were successfully used to estimate seasonal surface flow and mass wasting by using cross-correlation feature tracking and DEM differencing techniques. The results reveal large heterogeneity in mass loss and surface flow over the glacier surfaces, which are primarily caused by the presence of surface features such as ice cliffs and supra-glacial lakes. Accordingly, we systematically analyze those features using an object-based approach and relate their characteristics to the observed dynamics. We show that ice cliffs and supra-glacial lakes are contributing to a significant portion of the melt water of debris covered glaciers and we conclude that UAVs have great potential in understanding the key surface processes that remain largely undetected by using satellite remote sensing.

  8. Fractal methods for extracting artificial objects from the unmanned aerial vehicle images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Markov, Eugene

    2016-04-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become used increasingly in earth surface observations, with a special interest put into automatic modes of environmental control and recognition of artificial objects. Fractal methods for image processing well detect the artificial objects in digital space images but were not applied previously to the UAV-produced imagery. Parameters of photography, on-board equipment, and image characteristics differ considerably for spacecrafts and UAVs. Therefore, methods that work properly with space images can produce different results for the UAVs. In this regard, testing the applicability of fractal methods for the UAV-produced images and determining the optimal range of parameters for these methods represent great interest. This research is dedicated to the solution of this problem. Specific features of the earth's surface images produced with UAVs are described in the context of their interpretation and recognition. Fractal image processing methods for extracting artificial objects are described. The results of applying these methods to the UAV images are presented.

  9. Portable ammonia-borane-based H2 power-pack for unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seo, Jung-Eun; Kim, Yujong; Kim, Yongmin; Kim, Kibeom; Lee, Jin Hee; Lee, Dae Hyung; Kim, Yeongcheon; Shin, Seock Jae; Kim, Dong-Min; Kim, Sung-Yug; Kim, Taegyu; Yoon, Chang Won; Nam, Suk Woo

    2014-05-01

    An advanced ammonia borane (AB)-based H2 power-pack is designed to continually drive an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for 57 min using a 200-We polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). In a flight test with the UAV platform integrated with the developed power-pack, pure hydrogen with an average flow rate of 3.8 L(H2) min-1 is generated by autothermal H2-release from AB with tetraethylene glycol dimethylether (T4EGDE) as a promoter. During take-off, a hybridized power management system (PMS) consisting of the fuel cell and an auxiliary lithium-ion battery supplies 500 We at full power simultaneously, while the fuel cell alone provides 150-200 We and further recharges the auxiliary battery upon cruising. Gaseous byproducts identified by in situ Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy during AB dehydrogenation are sequestrated using a mixed absorbent in an H2 purification system. In addition, a real-time monitoring system is employed to determine the remaining filter capacity of the purifier at a ground control system for rapidly responding unpredictable circumstances during flight. Separate experiments are conducted to screen potential materials and methods for enhancing filter capacity in the current H2 refining system. A prospective reactor concept for long-term fuel cell applications is proposed based on the results.

  10. Experimental measurement of the aerodynamic charateristics of two-dimensional airfoils for an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Velazquez, Luis; Nožička, Jiří; Vavřín, Jan

    2012-04-01

    This paper is part of the development of an airfoil for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with internal propulsion system; the investigation involves the analysis of the aerodynamic performance for the gliding condition of two-dimensional airfoil models which have been tested. This development is based on the modification of a selected airfoil from the NACA four digits family. The modification of this base airfoil was made in order to create a blowing outlet with the shape of a step on the suction surface since the UAV will have an internal propulsion system. This analysis involved obtaining the lift, drag and pitching moment coefficients experimentally for the situation where there is not flow through the blowing outlet, called the no blowing condition by means of wind tunnel tests. The methodology to obtain the forces experimentally was through an aerodynamic wire balance. Obtained results were compared with numerical results by means of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) from references and found in very good agreement. Finally, a selection of the airfoil with the best aerodynamic performance is done and proposed for further analysis including the blowing condition.

  11. Real-Time Monitoring System Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated with Sensor Observation Service

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Witayangkurn, A.; Nagai, M.; Honda, K.; Dailey, M.; Shibasaki, R.

    2011-09-01

    The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is an emerging technology being adapted for a wide range of applications. Real-time monitoring is essential to enhance the effectiveness of UAV applications. Sensor networks are networks constructed from various sensor nodes. International standard such as OGC's SOS (Sensor Observation Service) makes it possible to share sensor data with other systems as well as to provide accessibility to globally distributed users. In this paper, we propose a system combining UAV technology and sensor network technology to use an UAV as a mobile node of sensor network so that the sensor data from UAV is published and shared real-time. A UAV can extend the observation range of a sensor network to remote areas where it is usually difficult to access such as disaster area. We constructed a UAV system using remote-controlled helicopter and various sensors such as GPS, gyrocompass, laser range finder, Digital camera and Thermometer. Furthermore, we extended the Sensor Observation Service (SOS) and Sensor Service Grid (SSG) to support mobile sensor nodes. Then, we conducted experiments of flying the helicopter over an area of the interest. During the flight, the system measured environmental data using its sensors and captured images of the ground. The data was sent to a SOS node as the ground station via Wi-Fi which was published using SSG to give real- time access to globally distributed users.

  12. Validating high-resolution California coastal flood modeling with Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Neill, A.

    2015-12-01

    The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) is a numerical modeling scheme used to predict coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storms influenced by climate change, currently in use in central California and in development for Southern California (Pt. Conception to the Mexican border). Using a framework of circulation, wave, analytical, and Bayesian models at different geographic scales, high-resolution results are translated as relevant hazards projections at the local scale that include flooding, wave heights, coastal erosion, shoreline change, and cliff failures. Ready access to accurate, high-resolution coastal flooding data is critical for further validation and refinement of CoSMoS and improved coastal hazard projections. High-resolution Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) provides an exceptional data source as appropriately-timed flights during extreme tides or storms provide a geographically-extensive method for determining areas of inundation and flooding extent along expanses of complex and varying coastline. Landward flood extents are numerically identified via edge-detection in imagery from single flights, and can also be ascertained via change detection using additional flights and imagery collected during average wave/tide conditions. The extracted flooding positions are compared against CoSMoS results for similar tide, water level, and storm-intensity conditions, allowing for robust testing and validation of CoSMoS and providing essential feedback for supporting regional and local model improvement.

  13. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Artificial Intelligence Revolutionizing Wildlife Monitoring and Conservation.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez, Luis F; Montes, Glen A; Puig, Eduard; Johnson, Sandra; Mengersen, Kerrie; Gaston, Kevin J

    2015-01-01

    Surveying threatened and invasive species to obtain accurate population estimates is an important but challenging task that requires a considerable investment in time and resources. Estimates using existing ground-based monitoring techniques, such as camera traps and surveys performed on foot, are known to be resource intensive, potentially inaccurate and imprecise, and difficult to validate. Recent developments in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), artificial intelligence and miniaturized thermal imaging systems represent a new opportunity for wildlife experts to inexpensively survey relatively large areas. The system presented in this paper includes thermal image acquisition as well as a video processing pipeline to perform object detection, classification and tracking of wildlife in forest or open areas. The system is tested on thermal video data from ground based and test flight footage, and is found to be able to detect all the target wildlife located in the surveyed area. The system is flexible in that the user can readily define the types of objects to classify and the object characteristics that should be considered during classification. PMID:26784196

  14. Self-Contained Avionics Sensing and Flight Control System for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shams, Qamar A. (Inventor); Logan, Michael J. (Inventor); Fox, Robert L. (Inventor); Fox, legal representative, Christopher L. (Inventor); Fox, legal representative, Melanie L. (Inventor); Ingham, John C. (Inventor); Laughter, Sean A. (Inventor); Kuhn, III, Theodore R. (Inventor); Adams, James K. (Inventor); Babel, III, Walter C. (Inventor)

    2011-01-01

    A self-contained avionics sensing and flight control system is provided for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The system includes sensors for sensing flight control parameters and surveillance parameters, and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. Flight control parameters and location signals are processed to generate flight control signals. A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is configured to provide a look-up table storing sets of values with each set being associated with a servo mechanism mounted on the UAV and with each value in each set indicating a unique duty cycle for the servo mechanism associated therewith. Each value in each set is further indexed to a bit position indicative of a unique percentage of a maximum duty cycle for the servo mechanism associated therewith. The FPGA is further configured to provide a plurality of pulse width modulation (PWM) generators coupled to the look-up table. Each PWM generator is associated with and adapted to be coupled to one of the servo mechanisms.

  15. Low altitude unmanned aerial vehicle for characterising remediation effectiveness following the FDNPP accident.

    PubMed

    Martin, P G; Payton, O D; Fardoulis, J S; Richards, D A; Yamashiki, Y; Scott, T B

    2016-01-01

    On the 12th of March 2011, The Great Tōhoku Earthquake occurred 70 km off the eastern coast of Japan, generating a large 14 m high tsunami. The ensuing catalogue of events over the succeeding 12 d resulted in the release of considerable quantities of radioactive material into the environment. Important to the large-scale remediation of the affected areas is the accurate and high spatial resolution characterisation of contamination, including the verification of decontaminated areas. To enable this, a low altitude unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a lightweight gamma-spectrometer and height normalisation system was used to produce sub-meter resolution maps of contamination. This system provided a valuable method to examine both contaminated and remediated areas rapidly, whilst greatly reducing the dose received by the operator, typically in localities formerly inaccessible to ground-based survey methods. The characterisation of three sites within Fukushima Prefecture is presented; one remediated (and a site of much previous attention), one un-remediated and a third having been subjected to an alternative method to reduce emitted radiation dose. PMID:26410790

  16. An Overview of Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Air Quality Measurements: Present Applications and Future Prospectives.

    PubMed

    Villa, Tommaso Francesco; Gonzalez, Felipe; Miljievic, Branka; Ristovski, Zoran D; Morawska, Lidia

    2016-01-01

    Assessment of air quality has been traditionally conducted by ground based monitoring, and more recently by manned aircrafts and satellites. However, performing fast, comprehensive data collection near pollution sources is not always feasible due to the complexity of sites, moving sources or physical barriers. Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with different sensors have been introduced for in-situ air quality monitoring, as they can offer new approaches and research opportunities in air pollution and emission monitoring, as well as for studying atmospheric trends, such as climate change, while ensuring urban and industrial air safety. The aims of this review were to: (1) compile information on the use of UAVs for air quality studies; and (2) assess their benefits and range of applications. An extensive literature review was conducted using three bibliographic databases (Scopus, Web of Knowledge, Google Scholar) and a total of 60 papers was found. This relatively small number of papers implies that the field is still in its early stages of development. We concluded that, while the potential of UAVs for air quality research has been established, several challenges still need to be addressed, including: the flight endurance, payload capacity, sensor dimensions/accuracy, and sensitivity. However, the challenges are not simply technological, in fact, policy and regulations, which differ between countries, represent the greatest challenge to facilitating the wider use of UAVs in atmospheric research. PMID:27420065

  17. Design of a reconfigurable liquid hydrogen fuel tank for use in the Genii unmanned aerial vehicle

    SciTech Connect

    Adam, Patrick; Leachman, Jacob

    2014-01-29

    Long endurance flight, on the order of days, is a leading flight performance characteristic for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Liquid hydrogen (LH2) is well suited to providing multi-day flight times with a specific energy 2.8 times that of conventional kerosene based fuels. However, no such system of LH2 storage, delivery, and use is currently available for commercial UAVs. In this paper, we develop a light weight LH2 dewar for integration and testing in the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell powered, student designed and constructed, Genii UAV. The fuel tank design is general for scaling to suit various UAV platforms. A cylindrical vacuum-jacketed design with removable end caps was chosen to incorporate various fuel level gauging, pressurizing, and slosh mitigation systems. Heat and mechanical loadings were modeled to compare with experimental results. Mass performance of the fuel tank is characterized by the fraction of liquid hydrogen to full tank mass, and the insulation performance was characterized by effective thermal conductivity and boil-off rate.

  18. Simultaneous observations of aerosol-cloud-albedo interactions with three stacked unmanned aerial vehicles.

    PubMed

    Roberts, G C; Ramana, M V; Corrigan, C; Kim, D; Ramanathan, V

    2008-05-27

    Aerosol impacts on climate change are still poorly understood, in part, because the few observations and methods for detecting their effects are not well established. For the first time, the enhancement in cloud albedo is directly measured on a cloud-by-cloud basis and linked to increasing aerosol concentrations by using multiple autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles to simultaneously observe the cloud microphysics, vertical aerosol distribution, and associated solar radiative fluxes. In the presence of long-range transport of dust and anthropogenic pollution, the trade cumuli have higher droplet concentrations and are on average brighter. Our observations suggest a higher sensitivity of radiative forcing by trade cumuli to increases in cloud droplet concentrations than previously reported owing to a constrained droplet radius such that increases in droplet concentrations also increase cloud liquid water content. This aerosol-cloud forcing efficiency is as much as -60 W m(-2) per 100% percent cloud fraction for a doubling of droplet concentrations and associated increase of liquid water content. Finally, we develop a strategy for detecting aerosol-cloud interactions based on a nondimensional scaling analysis that relates the contribution of single clouds to albedo measurements and illustrates the significance of characterizing cloud morphology in resolving radiometric measurements. This study demonstrates that aerosol-cloud-albedo interactions can be directly observed by simultaneous observations below, in, and above the clouds. PMID:18499803

  19. Adaptive aerostructures: the first decade of flight on uninhabited aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrett, Ronald M.

    2004-07-01

    Although many subscale aircraft regularly fly with adaptive materials in sensors and small components in secondary subsystems, only a handful have flown with adaptive aerostructures as flight critical, enabling components. This paper reviews several families of adaptive aerostructures which have enabled or significantly enhanced flightworthy uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs), including rotary and fixed wing aircraft, missiles and munitions. More than 40 adaptive aerostructures programs which have had a direct connection to flight test and/or production UAVs, ranging from hover through hypersonic, sea-level to exo-stratospheric are examined. Adaptive material type, design Mach range, test methods, aircraft configuration and performance of each of the designs are presented. An historical analysis shows the evolution of flightworthy adaptive aerostructures from the earliest staggering flights in 1994 to modern adaptive UAVs supporting live-fire exercises in harsh military environments. Because there are profound differences between bench test, wind tunnel test, flight test and military grade flightworthy adaptive aerostructures, some of the most mature industrial design and fabrication techniques in use today will be outlined. The paper concludes with an example of the useful load and performance expansions which are seen on an industrial, military-grade UAV through the use of properly designed, flight-hardened adaptive aerostructures.

  20. AKSED: adaptive knowledge-based system for event detection using collaborative unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, X. Sean; Lee, Byung Suk; Sadjadi, Firooz

    2006-05-01

    Advances in sensor technology and image processing have made it possible to equip unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with economical, high-resolution, energy-efficient sensors. Despite the improvements, current UAVs lack autonomous and collaborative operation capabilities, due to limited bandwidth and limited on-board image processing abilities. The situation, however, is changing. In the next generation of UAVs, much image processing can be carried out onboard and communication bandwidth problem will improve. More importantly, with more processing power, collaborative operations among a team of autonomous UAVs can provide more intelligent event detection capabilities. In this paper, we present ideas for developing a system enabling target recognitions by collaborative operations of autonomous UAVs. UAVs are configured in three stages: manufacturing, mission planning, and deployment. Different sets of information are needed at different stages, and the resulting outcome is an optimized event detection code deployed onto a UAV. The envisioned system architecture and the contemplated methodology, together with problems to be addressed, are presented.

  1. Design and experiment for realization of laser wireless power transmission for small unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Qi; Zhang, Dechen; Zhu, Dandi; Shi, Qianyun; Gu, Jian; Ai, Yong

    2015-10-01

    Currently various types of aircraft booming and maturing, however, their long-time navigational capability should be improved urgently. This paper aims at studying laser power beaming, which includes the technology of high-efficient photoelectric conversion and APT(acquiring, pointing and tracking) technology, to provide power for flying UAV(unmanned aerial vehicles) and improve their flight endurance. The experiment of testing different types of solar cells under various conditions has been done to choose the solar cell which has the highest photoelectric conversion rate and find its most sensitive wavelength. In addition, the charge management module has been chose on the base of the characteristics of lithium batteries. Besides, a laser APT system was designed and set up, at the same time FSM (Fast Scan Mirror) control program and digital image processing program were used to control the system. The success of the indoor experiment of scan-tracking and charging for the moving UAV model via laser proves that this system is workable. And in this experiment, the photoelectric conversion rate of the whole system is up to 17.55%.

  2. Real-time Estimation of the Gaseous Plume Using a Formation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demetriou, Michael; Egorova, Tatiana; Gatsonis, Nikolaos

    2015-11-01

    This work proposes an approach for the real-time estimation of gaseous plume caused by a source moving along an unknown trajectory using a formation of seven unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with concentration sensors onboard. The process of gas release is modeled with unsteady advection-diffusion equation and is solved numerically using a finite volume method (FVM) with total variation diminishing (TVD) scheme. The concentration estimator is based on the Luenberger observer. The UAVs are assumed to maintain a rigid flying formation throughout the process. The UAVs dynamics is described by the point-mass model of a fixed wing aircraft. The guidance of the leader UAV is coupled to the performance of the estimator through Lyapunov redesign methods. An appropriate choice of the Lyapunov functional results in the desired direction for the leader UAV, which is expressed in terms of the concentration estimation error and the error gradients at the sensors locations. For computational efficiency in the real-time applications the computational grid for the estimator is adapted dynamically to provide higher resolution near the flying formation. Numerical tests are implemented to illustrate the performance of the proposed approach. The work is supported by the Dynamics and Control Program at AFOSR, grant FA9550-12-1-0114.

  3. A Water Vapor Differential Absorption LIDAR Design for Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DeYoung, Russell J.; Mead, Patricia F.

    2004-01-01

    This system study proposes the deployment of a water vapor Differential Absorption LIDAR (DIAL) system on an Altair unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform. The Altair offers improved payload weight and volume performance, and longer total flight time as compared to other commercial UAV's. This study has generated a preliminary design for an Altair based water vapor DIAL system. The design includes a proposed DIAL schematic, a review of mechanical challenges such as temperature and humidity stresses on UAV deployed DIAL systems, an assessment of the available capacity for additional instrumentation (based on the proposed design), and an overview of possible weight and volume improvements associated with the use of customized electronic and computer hardware, and through the integration of advanced fiber-optic and laser products. The results of the study show that less than 17% of the available weight, less than 19% of the volume capacity, and approximately 11% of the electrical capacity is utilized by the proposed water vapor DIAL system on the Altair UAV.

  4. Thermal Analysis on Cryogenic Liquid Hydrogen Tank on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Xiao-Yen; Harpster, George; Hunter, James

    2007-01-01

    Thermal analyses are performed on the liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank designed for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) powered by solar arrays and a regenerative proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. A 14-day cruise mission at a 65,000 ft altitude is considered. Thermal analysis provides the thermal loads on the tank system and the boiling-off rates of LH2. Different approaches are being considered to minimize the boiling-off rates of the LH2. It includes an evacuated multilayer insulation (MLI) versus aerogel insulation on the LH2 tank and aluminum versus stainless steel spacer rings between the inner and outer tank. The resulting boil-off rates of LH2 provided by the one-dimensional model and three-dimensional finite element analysis (FEA) on the tank system are presented and compared to validate the results of the three-dimensional FEA. It concludes that heat flux through penetrations by conduction is as significant as that through insulation around the tank. The tank system with MLI insulation and stainless steel spacer rings result in the lowest boiling-off rate of LH2.

  5. Reinforcement Learning with Autonomous Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Cluttered Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tran, Loc; Cross, Charles; Montague, Gilbert; Motter, Mark; Neilan, James; Qualls, Garry; Rothhaar, Paul; Trujillo, Anna; Allen, B. Danette

    2015-01-01

    We present ongoing work in the Autonomy Incubator at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) exploring the efficacy of a data set aggregation approach to reinforcement learning for small unmanned aerial vehicle (sUAV) flight in dense and cluttered environments with reactive obstacle avoidance. The goal is to learn an autonomous flight model using training experiences from a human piloting a sUAV around static obstacles. The training approach uses video data from a forward-facing camera that records the human pilot's flight. Various computer vision based features are extracted from the video relating to edge and gradient information. The recorded human-controlled inputs are used to train an autonomous control model that correlates the extracted feature vector to a yaw command. As part of the reinforcement learning approach, the autonomous control model is iteratively updated with feedback from a human agent who corrects undesired model output. This data driven approach to autonomous obstacle avoidance is explored for simulated forest environments furthering autonomous flight under the tree canopy research. This enables flight in previously inaccessible environments which are of interest to NASA researchers in Earth and Atmospheric sciences.

  6. Radiometric and geometric analysis of hyperspectral imagery acquired from an unmanned aerial vehicle

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Hruska, Ryan; Mitchell, Jessica; Anderson, Matthew; Glenn, Nancy F.

    2012-09-17

    During the summer of 2010, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) hyperspectral in-flight calibration and characterization experiment of the Resonon PIKA II imaging spectrometer was conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) UAV Research Park. The purpose of the experiment was to validate the radiometric calibration of the spectrometer and determine the georegistration accuracy achievable from the on-board global positioning system (GPS) and inertial navigation sensors (INS) under operational conditions. In order for low-cost hyperspectral systems to compete with larger systems flown on manned aircraft, they must be able to collect data suitable for quantitative scientific analysis.more » The results of the in-flight calibration experiment indicate an absolute average agreement of 96.3%, 93.7% and 85.7% for calibration tarps of 56%, 24%, and 2.5% reflectivity, respectively. The achieved planimetric accuracy was 4.6 meters (based on RMSE).« less

  7. Steering a simulated unmanned aerial vehicle using a head-slaved camera and HMD

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Vries, Sjoerd C.; Padmos, Pieter

    1997-06-01

    Military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is gaining importance. Video cameras in these devices are often operated with joysticks and their image is displayed on a CRT. In this experiment, the simulated camera of a simulated UAV was slaved to the operator's head movements and displayed using a helmet mounted display (HMD). The task involved maneuvering a UAV along a winding course marked by tress. The influence of several parameters of the set-up on a set of flight handling characteristics was assessed. To enable variation of FOV and to study the effect of the HMD optics, a simulated HMD consisting of a head slaved window, was projected on a screen. One of the FOVs, generated in this way, corresponded with the FOV of the real HMD, enabling a comparison. The results show that the simulated HMD yields a significantly better performance that the real HMD. Performance with a FOV of 17 degrees is significantly lower than with 34 or 57 degrees. An image lag of 50 ms, typical of pan-and-tilt servo motor systems, has a small but significant influence on steering accuracy. Monocular and stereoscopic presentation did not result in significant performance differences.

  8. Detecting pruning of individual stems using Airborne Laser Scanning data captured from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wallace, Luke; Watson, Christopher; Lucieer, Arko

    2014-08-01

    Modern forest management involves implementing optimal pruning regimes. These regimes aim to achieve the highest quality timber in the shortest possible rotation period. Although a valuable addition to forest management activities, tracking the application of these treatments in the field to ensure best practice management is not economically viable. This paper describes the use of Airborne Laser Scanner (ALS) data to track the rate of pruning in a Eucalyptus globulus stand. Data is obtained from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and we describe automated processing routines that provide a cost-effective alternative to field sampling. We manually prune a 500 m2 plot to 2.5 m above the ground at rates of between 160 and 660 stems/ha. Utilising the high density ALS data, we first derived crown base height (CBH) with an RMSE of 0.60 m at each stage of pruning. Variability in the measurement of CBH resulted in both false positive (mean rate of 11%) and false negative detection (3.5%), however, detected rates of pruning of between 96% and 125% of the actual rate of pruning were achieved. The successful automated detection of pruning within this study highlights the suitability of UAV laser scanning as a cost-effective tool for monitoring forest management activities.

  9. a Robust Matching Method for Unmmaned Aerial Vehicle Images with Different Viewpoint Angles Based on Regional Coherency

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shao, Z.; Li, C.; Yang, N.

    2015-08-01

    One of the main challenges confronting high-resolution remote sensing image matching is how to address the issue of geometric deformation between images, especially when the images are obtained from different viewpoints. In this paper, a robust matching method for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle images of different viewpoint angles based on regional coherency is proposed. The literature on the geometric transform analysis reveals that if transformations between different pixel pairs are different, they can't be expressed by a uniform affine transform. While for the same real scene, if the instantaneous field of view or the target depth changes is small, transformation between pixels in the whole image can be approximated by an affine transform. On the basis of this analysis, a region coherency matching method for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle images is proposed. In the proposed method, the simplified mapping from image view change to scale change and rotation change has been derived. Through this processing, the matching between view change images can be converted into the matching between rotation and scale changed images. In the method, firstly local image regions are detected and view changes between these local regions are mapped to rotation and scale change by performing local region simulation. And then, point feature detection and matching are implemented in the simulated image regions. Finally, a group of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle images are adopted to verify the performance of proposed matching method respectively, and a comparative analysis with other methods demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed method.

  10. Projection Moire Interferometry Measurements of Micro Air Vehicle Wings

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fleming, Gary A.; Bartram, Scott M.; Waszak, Martin R.; Jenkins, Luther N.

    2001-01-01

    Projection Moire Interferometry (PMI) has been used to measure the structural deformation of micro air vehicle (MAV) wings during a series of wind tunnel tests. The MAV wings had a highly flexible wing structure, generically reminiscent of a bat s wing, which resulted in significant changes in wing shape as a function of MAV angle-of-attack and simulated flight speed. This flow-adaptable wing deformation is thought to provide enhanced vehicle stability and wind gust alleviation compared to rigid wing designs. Investigation of the potential aerodynamic benefits of a flexible MAV wing required measurement of the wing shape under aerodynamic loads. PMI was used to quantify the aerodynamically induced changes in wing shape for three MAV wings having different structural designs and stiffness characteristics. This paper describes the PMI technique, its application to MAV testing, and presents a portion of the PMI data acquired for the three different MAV wings tested.

  11. Projection moire interferometry measurements of micro air vehicle wings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fleming, Gary A.; Bartram, Scott M.; Waszak, Martin R.; Jenkins, Luther N.

    2001-11-01

    Projection Moire Interferometry (PMI) has been used to measure the structural deformation of micro air vehicle (MAV) wings during a series of wind tunnel tests. The MAV wings had a highly flexible wing structure, generically reminiscent of a bat's wing, which resulted in significant changes in wing shape as a function of MAV angle-of-attack and simulated flight speed. This flow-adaptable wing deformation is thought to provide enhanced vehicle stability and wind gust alleviation compared to rigid wing designs. Investigation of the potential aerodynamic benefits of a flexible MAV wing required measurement of the wing shape under aerodynamic loads. PMI was used to quantify the aerodynamically induced changes in wing shape for three MAV wings having different structural designs and stiffness characteristics. This paper describes the PMI technique, its application to MAV testing, and presents a portion of the PMI data acquired for the three different MAV wings tested.

  12. Conceptual design of flapping-wing micro air vehicles.

    PubMed

    Whitney, J P; Wood, R J

    2012-09-01

    Traditional micro air vehicles (MAVs) are miniature versions of full-scale aircraft from which their design principles closely follow. The first step in aircraft design is the development of a conceptual design, where basic specifications and vehicle size are established. Conceptual design methods do not rely on specific knowledge of the propulsion system, vehicle layout and subsystems; these details are addressed later in the design process. Non-traditional MAV designs based on birds or insects are less common and without well-established conceptual design methods. This paper presents a conceptual design process for hovering flapping-wing vehicles. An energy-based accounting of propulsion and aerodynamics is combined with a one degree-of-freedom dynamic flapping model. Important results include simple analytical expressions for flight endurance and range, predictions for maximum feasible wing size and body mass, and critical design space restrictions resulting from finite wing inertia. A new figure-of-merit for wing structural-inertial efficiency is proposed and used to quantify the performance of real and artificial insect wings. The impact of these results on future flapping-wing MAV designs is discussed in detail. PMID:22498507

  13. Online optimal obstacle avoidance for rotary-wing autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kang, Keeryun

    This thesis presents an integrated framework for online obstacle avoidance of rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which can provide UAVs an obstacle field navigation capability in a partially or completely unknown obstacle-rich environment. The framework is composed of a LIDAR interface, a local obstacle grid generation, a receding horizon (RH) trajectory optimizer, a global shortest path search algorithm, and a climb rate limit detection logic. The key feature of the framework is the use of an optimization-based trajectory generation in which the obstacle avoidance problem is formulated as a nonlinear trajectory optimization problem with state and input constraints over the finite range of the sensor. This local trajectory optimization is combined with a global path search algorithm which provides a useful initial guess to the nonlinear optimization solver. Optimization is the natural process of finding the best trajectory that is dynamically feasible, safe within the vehicle's flight envelope, and collision-free at the same time. The optimal trajectory is continuously updated in real time by the numerical optimization solver, Nonlinear Trajectory Generation (NTG), which is a direct solver based on the spline approximation of trajectory for dynamically flat systems. In fact, the overall approach of this thesis to finding the optimal trajectory is similar to the model predictive control (MPC) or the receding horizon control (RHC), except that this thesis followed a two-layer design; thus, the optimal solution works as a guidance command to be followed by the controller of the vehicle. The framework is implemented in a real-time simulation environment, the Georgia Tech UAV Simulation Tool (GUST), and integrated in the onboard software of the rotary-wing UAV test-bed at Georgia Tech. Initially, the 2D vertical avoidance capability of real obstacles was tested in flight. The flight test evaluations were extended to the benchmark tests for 3D avoidance

  14. Challenges in collecting hyperspectral imagery of coastal waters using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    English, D. C.; Herwitz, S.; Hu, C.; Carlson, P. R., Jr.; Muller-Karger, F. E.; Yates, K. K.; Ramsewak, D.

    2013-12-01

    Airborne multi-band remote sensing is an important tool for many aquatic applications; and the increased spectral information from hyperspectral sensors may increase the utility of coastal surveys. Recent technological advances allow Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to be used as alternatives or complements to manned aircraft or in situ observing platforms, and promise significant advantages for field studies. These include the ability to conduct programmed flight plans, prolonged and coordinated surveys, and agile flight operations under difficult conditions such as measurements made at low altitudes. Hyperspectral imagery collected from UAVs should allow the increased differentiation of water column or shallow benthic communities at relatively small spatial scales. However, the analysis of hyperspectral imagery from airborne platforms over shallow coastal waters differs from that used for terrestrial or oligotrophic ocean color imagery, and the operational constraints and considerations for the collection of such imagery from autonomous platforms also differ from terrestrial surveys using manned aircraft. Multispectral and hyperspectral imagery of shallow seagrass and coral environments in the Florida Keys were collected with various sensor systems mounted on manned and unmanned aircrafts in May 2012, October 2012, and May 2013. The imaging systems deployed on UAVs included NovaSol's Selectable Hyperspectral Airborne Remote-sensing Kit (SHARK), a Tetracam multispectral imaging system, and the Sunflower hyperspectal imager from Galileo Group, Inc. The UAVs carrying these systems were Xtreme Aerial Concepts' Vision-II Rotorcraft UAV, MLB Company's Bat-4 UAV, and NASA's SIERRA UAV, respectively. Additionally, the Galileo Group's manned aircraft also surveyed the areas with their AISA Eagle hyperspectral imaging system. For both manned and autonomous flights, cloud cover and sun glint (solar and viewing angles) were dominant constraints on retrieval of quantitatively

  15. Absolute High-Precision Localisation of an Unmanned Ground Vehicle by Using Real-Time Aerial Video Imagery for Geo-referenced Orthophoto Registration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuhnert, Lars; Ax, Markus; Langer, Matthias; Nguyen van, Duong; Kuhnert, Klaus-Dieter

    This paper describes an absolute localisation method for an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) if GPS is unavailable for the vehicle. The basic idea is to combine an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the ground vehicle and use it as an external sensor platform to achieve an absolute localisation of the robotic team. Beside the discussion of the rather naive method directly using the GPS position of the aerial robot to deduce the ground robot's position the main focus of this paper lies on the indirect usage of the telemetry data of the aerial robot combined with live video images of an onboard camera to realise a registration of local video images with apriori registered orthophotos. This yields to a precise driftless absolute localisation of the unmanned ground vehicle. Experiments with our robotic team (AMOR and PSYCHE) successfully verify this approach.

  16. First Experiences Using Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Volcano Observation in the Visible Range

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buschmann, M.; Krüger, L.; Bange, J.

    2007-05-01

    Many of the most active volcanoes in the world are located in Middle and South America. While permanently installed sensors for seismicity give reliable supervision of volcanic activities, they lack the possibility to determine occurrence and extent of surface activities. Both from the point of science and civil protection, visible documentation of activities is of great interest. While satellites and manned aircraft already offer many possibilities, they also have disadvantages like delayed or poor image data availability or high costs. The Institute of Aerospace Systems of the Technical University of Braunschweig, in collaboration with the spin-off company Mavionics, developed a family of extremely small and lightweight Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), with the smallest aircraft weighting only 550~g (19~ounces) at a wing span of 50 cm (20~inch). These aircraft are operating completely automatically, controlled by a highly miniaturized autopilot system. Flight mission is defined by a list of GPS waypoints using a conventional notebook. While in radio range, current position and status of the aircraft is displayed on the notebook and waypoints can easily be changed by the user. However, when radio connection is not available, the aircraft operates on its on, completing the flight mission automatically. This greatly increases the operating range of the system. Especially for the purpose of volcano observation in South America, the aircraft Carolo~P330 was developed, weighting 5~kg (11~pounds) at a wing span of 3.3~m ( 11~ft). The whole system can be easily carried by car and the electric propulsion system avoids handling of flammable liquids. The batteries can be recharged in the field. Carolo~P330 has an endurance of up to 90~minutes at a flight speed of 25~m/s, giving it a maximum range of 67 km (41~miles). It was especially designed to operate under harsh conditions. The payload is a digital still camera, which delivers aerial images with a resolution of up to 8

  17. 3D Tree Dimensionality Assessment Using Photogrammetry and Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Detailed, precise, three-dimensional (3D) representations of individual trees are a prerequisite for an accurate assessment of tree competition, growth, and morphological plasticity. Until recently, our ability to measure the dimensionality, spatial arrangement, shape of trees, and shape of tree components with precision has been constrained by technological and logistical limitations and cost. Traditional methods of forest biometrics provide only partial measurements and are labor intensive. Active remote technologies such as LiDAR operated from airborne platforms provide only partial crown reconstructions. The use of terrestrial LiDAR is laborious, has portability limitations and high cost. In this work we capitalized on recent improvements in the capabilities and availability of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), light and inexpensive cameras, and developed an affordable method for obtaining precise and comprehensive 3D models of trees and small groups of trees. The method employs slow-moving UAVs that acquire images along predefined trajectories near and around targeted trees, and computer vision-based approaches that process the images to obtain detailed tree reconstructions. After we confirmed the potential of the methodology via simulation we evaluated several UAV platforms, strategies for image acquisition, and image processing algorithms. We present an original, step-by-step workflow which utilizes open source programs and original software. We anticipate that future development and applications of our method will improve our understanding of forest self-organization emerging from the competition among trees, and will lead to a refined generation of individual-tree-based forest models. PMID:26393926

  18. Practical strategies of wind energy utilization for uninhabited aerial vehicles in loiter flights

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singhania, Hong Yang

    Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is becoming increasingly attractive in missions where human presence is undesirable or impossible. Agile maneuvers and long endurance are among the most desired advantages of UAVs over aircraft that have human pilots onboard. Past studies suggest that the performance of UAVs may be considerably improved by utilizing natural resources, especially wind energy, during flights. The key challenge of exploiting wind energy in practical UAV operations lies in the availability of reliable and timely wind field information in the operational region. This thesis presents a practical onboard strategy that attempts to over-come this challenge, to enable UAVs in utilizing wind energy effectively during flights, and therefore to enhance performance. We propose and explore a strategy that combines wind measurement and optimal trajectory planning onboard UAVs. During a cycle of a loiter flight, a UAV can take measurements of wind velocity components over the flight region, use these measurements to estimate the local wind field through a model-based approach, and then compute a flight trajectory for the next flight cycle with the objective of optimizing fuel. As the UAV follows the planned trajectory, it continues to measure the wind components and repeats the process of updating the wind model with new estimations and planning optimal trajectories for the next flight cycle. Besides presenting an onboard trajectory planning strategy of wind energy exploration, estimation, and utilization, this research also develops a semi-analytical linearized solution to the formulated nonlinear optimal control problem. Simulations and numerical results indicate that the fuel savings of trajectories generated using the proposed scheme depend on wind speed, wind estimation errors, rates of change in wind speed, and the wind model structures. For a given wind field, the magnitude of potential fuel savings is also contingent upon UAVs' performance capabilities.

  19. Annual low-cost monitoring of a coastal site in Greece by an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoffmeister, Dirk; Bareth, Georg

    2016-04-01

    Coastal areas are under permanent change and are also the result of past processes. These processes are for example sediment transport, accumulation and erosion by normal and extreme waves (storms or tsunamis). As about 23% of the Worl&dacute;s population lives within a 100 km distance of coasts, knowledge about coastal processes is important, in particular for possible changes in the nearby future. The past devastating tsunami events demonstrated profoundly the high vulnerability of coastal areas. In order to estimate the different effects, coastal monitoring approaches are of interest. Several different methods exist in order to determine changes in the sedimentary budget and coastline configuration. In order to estimate constant annual changes, we have applied terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) in an annual monitoring approach (2009-2011). In 2014, we changed to an approach based on dense imaging and structure-from-motion, applying an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in order to conduct an annual monitoring of a coastal site in western Greece. Therefore, a GoPro Hero 3+ and a Canon PowerShot S110 mounted on a DJI-Phantom 2 were used. All surveys were conducted in a manually structured image acquisition with a huge overlap. Ground control points (GCP) were measured by tachymetric surveying. This successful approach was repeated again in 2015 with the Canon camera. The measurements of 2014 were controlled by an additional TLS survey, which revealed the high accuracy and more suitable coverage for the UAV-based data. Likewise, the large picture datasets were artificially reduced in order to estimate the most efficient number of images for dense point cloud processing. In addition, also the number of GCPs was decreased for one dataset. Overall, high-resolution digital elevation models with a ground resolution of 10 mm and an equal accuracy were achieved with this low-cost equipment. The data reveals the slight changes on this selected site.

  20. The Generation of Building Floor Plans Using Portable and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Mapping Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsai, G. J.; Chen, Y. L.; Chiang, K. W.; Lai, Y. C.

    2016-06-01

    Indoor navigation or positioning systems have been widely developed for Location-Based Services (LBS) applications and they come along with a keen demand of indoor floor plans for displaying results even improving the positioning performance. Generally, the floor plans produced by robot mapping focus on perceiving the environment to avoid obstacles and using the feature landmarks to update the robot position in the relative coordinate frame. These maps are not accurate enough to incorporate to the indoor positioning system. This study aims at developing Indoor Mobile Mapping System (Indoor MMS) and concentrates on generating the highly accurate floor plans based on the robot mapping technique using the portable, robot and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) platform. The proposed portable mapping system prototype can be used in the chest package and the handheld approach. In order to evaluate and correct the generated floor plans from robot mapping techniques, this study builds the testing and calibration field using the outdoor control survey method implemented in the indoor environments. Based on control points and check points from control survey, this study presents the map rectification method that uses the affine transformation to solve the scale and deformation problems and also transfer the local coordinate system into world standard coordinate system. The preliminary results illustrate that the final version of the building floor plan reach 1 meter absolute positioning accuracy using the proposed mapping systems that combines with the novel map rectification approach proposed. These maps are well geo-referenced with world coordinate system thus it can be applied for future seamless navigation applications including indoor and outdoor scenarios.

  1. High-Resolution Monitoring of Coastal Dune Erosion and Growth Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruessink, G.; Markies, H.; Van Maarseveen, M.

    2014-12-01

    Coastal foredunes lose and gain sand through marine and aeolian processes, but coastal-evolution models that can accurately predict both wave-driven dune erosion and wind-blown dune growth are non-existing. This is, together with a limited understanding of coastal aeolian process dynamics, due to the lack of adequate field data sets from which erosion and supply volumes can be studied simultaneously. Here, we quantify coastal foredune dynamics using nine topographic surveys performed near Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands, between September 2011 and March 2014 using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The approximately 0.75-km long study site comprises a 30-100 m wide sandy beach and a 20-25 m high foredune, of which the higher parts are densely vegetated with European marram grass. Using a structure-from-motion workflow, the 200-500 photographs taken during each UAV flight were processed into a point cloud, from which a geo-referenced digital surface model with a 0.25 x 0.25 m resolution was subsequently computed. Our data set contains two dune-erosion events, including that due to storm Xaver (December 2013), which caused one of the highest surge levels in the southern North Sea region for the last decades. Dune erosion during both events varied alongshore from the destruction of embryonic dunes on the upper beach to the slumping of the entire dune face. During the first storm (January 2012), erosion volumes ranged from 5 m3/m in the (former) embryonic dune field to over 40 m3/m elsewhere. During the subsequent 11 (spring - autumn) months, the foredune accreted by (on average) 8 m3/m, again with substantial alongshore variability (0 - 20 m3/m). Intriguingly, volume changes during the 2012-2013 winter were minimal. We will compare the observed aeolian supply rates with model predictions and discuss reasons for their temporal variability. Funded by the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research NWO.

  2. Titan AVIATR - Aerial Vehicle for In Situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kattenhorn, Simon A.; Barnes, J. W.; McKay, C. P.; Lemke, L.; Beyer, R. A.; Radebaugh, J.; Adamkovics, M.; Atkinson, D. H.; Burr, D. M.; Colaprete, T.; Foch, R.; Le Mouélic, S.; Merrison, J.; Mitchell, J.; Rodriguez, S.; Schaller, E.

    2010-10-01

    Titan AVIATR - Aerial Vehicle for In Situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance - is a small (120 kg), nuclear-powered Titan airplane in the Discovery/New Frontiers class based on the concept of Lemke (2008 IPPW). The scientific goals of the mission are designed around the unique flexibility offered by an airborne platform: to explore Titan's diversity of surface landforms, processes, and compositions, as well as to study and measure the atmospheric circulation, aerosols, and humidity. AVIATR would address and surpass many of the science goals of hot-air balloons in Titan flagship studies. The strawman instrument payload is narrowly focused on the stated scientific objectives. The optical remote sensing suite comprises three instruments - an off-nadir high-resolution 2-micron camera, a horizon-looking 5-micron imager, and a 1-6 micron pushbroom near-infrared spectrometer. The in situ instruments include atmospheric structure, a methane humidity sensor, and a raindrop detector. An airplane has operational advantages over a balloon. Its piloted nature allows a go-to capability to image locations of interest in real time, thereby allowing for directed exploration of many features of primary geologic interest: Titan's sand dunes, mountains, craters, channels, and lakes. Subsequent imaging can capture changes in these features during the primary mission. AVIATR can fly predesigned routes, building up large context mosaics of areas of interest before swooping down to low altitude to acquire high-resolution images at 30-cm spatial sampling, similar to that of HiRISE at Mars. The elevation flexibility of the airplane allows us to acquire atmospheric profiles as a function of altitude at any desired location. Although limited by the direct-to-Earth downlink bandwidth, the total scientific data return from AVIATR will be >40 times that returned from Huygens. To maximize the science per bit, novel data storage and downlink techniques will be employed, including lossy compression

  3. Aerodynamic analysis and simulation of a twin-tail tilt-duct unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abdollahi, Cyrus

    The tilt-duct vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) concept has been around since the early 1960s; however, to date the design has never passed the research phase and development phase. Nearly 50 years later, American Dynamics Flight Systems (ADFS) is developing the AD-150, a 2,250lb weight class unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) configured with rotating ducts on each wingtip. Unlike its predecessor, the Doak VZ-4, the AD-150 features a V tail and wing sweep -- both of which affect the aerodynamic behavior of the aircraft. Because no aircraft of this type has been built and tested, vital aerodynamic research was conducted on the bare airframe behavior (without wingtip ducts). Two weeks of static and dynamic testing were performed on a 3/10th scale model at the University of Maryland's 7' x 10' low speed wind tunnel to facilitate the construction of a nonlinear flight simulator. A total of 70 dynamic tests were performed to obtain damping parameter estimates using the ordinary least squares methodology. Validation, based on agreement between static and dynamic estimates of the pitch and yaw stiffness terms, showed an average percent error of 14.0% and 39.6%, respectively. These inconsistencies were attributed to: large dynamic displacements not encountered during static testing, regressor collinearity, and, while not conclusively proven, differences in static and dynamic boundary layer development. Overall, the damping estimates were consistent and repeatable, with low scatter over a 95% confidence interval. Finally, a basic open loop simulation was executed to demonstrate the instability of the aircraft. As a result, it is recommended that future work be performed to determine trim points and linear models for controls development.

  4. Stream Restoration Monitoring Utilizing an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Teton Creek, Idaho

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stegman, T.

    2014-12-01

    Stream restoration is a growing field in fluvial geomorphology. As demands on water resources increase the need for sustainable and healthy waterways becomes even more essential. This research investigates how an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can be utilized for data collection necessary in stream restoration design and evaluation. UAV's offer an inexpensive method to collect information on channel geometry and map grain size distributions of the bed material. This data is critical in hydraulic flow modeling and engineering plans needed to create a restoration design, as well as evaluate if an implemented project has met its goals. This research utilized a UAV and structure-from-motion photogrammetry to monitor a recent stream restoration project designed to reduce erosion on a 1.9 km reach of Teton Creek in Eastern Idaho. A digital elevation model of difference was created from an as-built field survey and a UAV derived terrain model to identify areas of erosion and deposition in the restoration reach. The data has shown relatively small areas of channel instability in the restoration reach, and has also identified sections which may require additional restoration activities in Teton Creek. The grain size distribution of Teton Creek was also mapped utilizing a UAV and digital photosieving techniques, for use in sediment transport equations in the restoration reach. Data collected quickly and inexpensively from a UAV is valuable to river managers to monitor restoration work. This research identifies the methods and materials needed for river managers to conduct UAV surveys of streams for use in restoration design and monitoring.

  5. Annual low-cost monitoring of a coastal site in Greece by an unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoffmeister, Dirk; Bareth, Georg

    2016-04-01

    Coastal areas are under permanent change and are also the result of past processes. These processes are for example sediment transport, accumulation and erosion by normal and extreme waves (storms or tsunamis). As about 23% of the World's population lives within a 100 km distance of coasts, knowledge about coastal processes is important, in particular for possible changes in the nearby future. The past devastating tsunami events demonstrated profoundly the high vulnerability of coastal areas. In order to estimate the different effects, coastal monitoring approaches are of interest. Several different methods exist in order to determine changes in the sedimentary budget and coastline configuration. In order to estimate constant annual changes, we have applied terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) in an annual monitoring approach (2009-2011). In 2014, we changed to an approach based on dense imaging and structure-from-motion, applying an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in order to conduct an annual monitoring of a coastal site in western Greece. Therefore, a GoPro Hero 3+ and a Canon PowerShot S110 mounted on a DJI-Phantom 2 were used. All surveys were conducted in a manually structured image acquisition with a huge overlap. Ground control points (GCP) were measured by tachymetric surveying. This successful approach was repeated again in 2015 with the Canon camera. The measurements of 2014 were controlled by an additional TLS survey, which revealed the high accuracy and more suitable coverage for the UAV-based data. Likewise, the large picture datasets were artificially reduced in order to estimate the most efficient number of images for dense point cloud processing. In addition, also the number of GCPs was decreased for one dataset. Overall, high-resolution digital elevation models with a ground resolution of 10 mm and an equal accuracy were achieved with this low-cost equipment. The data reveals the slight changes on this selected site.

  6. Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in coastal areas: lessons learned from applications in Liguria, NW Mediterranean.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rovere, A.; Casella, E.; Pedroncini, A.; Mucerino, L.; Casella, M.; Cusati, L. A.; Vacchi, M.; Ferrari, M.; Firpo, M.

    2014-12-01

    In 2013 we started to apply small UAVs to the study of coastal areas in Liguria, NW Mediterranean Sea. In this region monitoring coastal evolution and the impact of sea storms is a primary administrative need, as a large part of the economic income derives from summer tourism. In two years, we accumulated almost 200 hours of flight with two different UAVs, a professional-grade Mikrokopter Okto and a consumer-grade Phantom DJI. We used photogrammetric and orthorectification techniques to obtain Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) and orthophotos of different beaches in the region. Data from UAVs allowed us to answer several questions. What is the accuracy of DEMs obtained from UAVs in low-relief areas such as beaches? What are the problems encountered in the photogrammetric procedure near the shoreline? Are the results obtained with consumer-grade UAVs comparable to those obtained with professional-grade ones? Aside from these technical questions, we used the data obtained from UAVs for different local studies aimed at giving management tools to the local administrations. We used the cloudpoint obtained from DEMs and the orthophotos to set up a runup modelling chain, to detect short-term changes in the coastal zone, and to give a first estimate of the debris deposited on the beach after a major storm. As stated by Watts et al., 2012 (Remote Sensing 4, 1671-1692) the application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and photogrammetry techniques in earth sciences is flourishing, and has the potential to revolutionize the study of geomorphology. Surely, UAVs opened new research perspectives for our group, which has been actively working on coastal changes in Liguria for almost 25 years.

  7. Using small unmanned aerial vehicle for instream habitat evaluation and modelling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Astegiano, Luca; Vezza, Paolo; Comoglio, Claudio; Lingua, Andrea; Spairani, Michele

    2015-04-01

    Recent advances in digital image collection and processing have led to the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for river research and management. In this paper, we assess the capabilities of a small UAV to characterize physical habitat for fish in three river stretches of North-Western Italy. The main aim of the study was identifying the advantages and challenges of this technology for environmental river management, in the context of the increasing river exploitation for hydropower production. The UAV used to acquire overlapping images was a small quadcopter with a two different high-resolution (non-metric) cameras (Nikon J1™ and Go-Pro Hero 3 Black Edition™). The quadcopter was preprogrammed to fly set waypoints using a small tablet PC. With the acquired imagery, we constructed a 5-cm resolution orthomosaic image and a digital surface model (DSM). The two products were used to map the distribution of aquatic and riparian habitat features, i.e., wetted area, morphological unit distributions, bathymetry, water surface gradient, substrates and grain sizes, shelters and cover for fish. The study assessed the quality of collected data and used such information to identify key reach-scale metrics and important aspects of fluvial morphology and aquatic habitat. The potential and limitations of using UAV for physical habitat survey were evaluated and the collected data were used to initialize and run common habitat simulation tools (MesoHABSIM). Several advantages of using UAV-based imagery were found, including low cost procedures, high resolution and efficiency in data collection. However, some challenges were identified for bathymetry extraction (vegetation obstructions, white waters, turbidity) and grain size assessment (preprocessing of data and automatic object detection). The application domain and possible limitation for instream habitat mapping were defined and will be used as a reference for future studies. Ongoing activities include the

  8. Fusing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery with High Resolution Hydrologic Modeling (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vivoni, E. R.; Pierini, N.; Schreiner-McGraw, A.; Anderson, C.; Saripalli, S.; Rango, A.

    2013-12-01

    After decades of development and applications, high resolution hydrologic models are now common tools in research and increasingly used in practice. More recently, high resolution imagery from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that provide information on land surface properties have become available for civilian applications. Fusing the two approaches promises to significantly advance the state-of-the-art in terms of hydrologic modeling capabilities. This combination will also challenge assumptions on model processes, parameterizations and scale as land surface characteristics (~0.1 to 1 m) may now surpass traditional model resolutions (~10 to 100 m). Ultimately, predictions from high resolution hydrologic models need to be consistent with the observational data that can be collected from UAVs. This talk will describe our efforts to develop, utilize and test the impact of UAV-derived topographic and vegetation fields on the simulation of two small watersheds in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts at the Santa Rita Experimental Range (Green Valley, AZ) and the Jornada Experimental Range (Las Cruces, NM). High resolution digital terrain models, image orthomosaics and vegetation species classification were obtained from a fixed wing airplane and a rotary wing helicopter, and compared to coarser analyses and products, including Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). We focus the discussion on the relative improvements achieved with UAV-derived fields in terms of terrain-hydrologic-vegetation analyses and summer season simulations using the TIN-based Real-time Integrated Basin Simulator (tRIBS) model. Model simulations are evaluated at each site with respect to a high-resolution sensor network consisting of six rain gauges, forty soil moisture and temperature profiles, four channel runoff flumes, a cosmic-ray soil moisture sensor and an eddy covariance tower over multiple summer periods. We also discuss prospects for the fusion of high resolution models with novel

  9. Comparison of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platforms for Assessing Vegetation Cover in Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Robert P. Breckenridge; Maxine Dakins; Stephen Bunting; Jerry Harbour; Sera White

    2011-09-01

    In this study, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a quick and safe method for monitoring biotic resources was evaluated. Vegetation cover and the amount of bare ground are important factors in understanding the sustainability of many ecosystems and assessment of rangeland health. Methods that improve speed and cost efficiency could greatly improve how biotic resources are monitored on western lands. Sagebrush steppe ecosystems provide important habitat for a variety of species (including sage grouse and pygmy rabbit). Improved methods are needed to support monitoring these habitats because there are not enough resource specialists or funds available for comprehensive ground evaluations. In this project, two UAV platforms, fixed wing and helicopter, were used to collect still-frame imagery to assess vegetation cover in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. This paper discusses the process for collecting and analyzing imagery from the UAVs to (1) estimate percent cover for six different vegetation types (shrub, dead shrub, grass, forb, litter, and bare ground) and (2) locate sage grouse using representative decoys. The field plots were located on the Idaho National Engineering (INL) site west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, in areas with varying amounts and types of vegetation cover. A software program called SamplePoint was used along with visual inspection to evaluate percent cover for the six cover types. Results were compared against standard field measurements to assess accuracy. The comparison of fixed-wing and helicopter UAV technology against field estimates shows good agreement for the measurement of bare ground. This study shows that if a high degree of detail and data accuracy is desired, then a helicopter UAV may be a good platform to use. If the data collection objective is to assess broad-scale landscape level changes, then the collection of imagery with a fixed-wing system is probably more appropriate.

  10. 3D Tree Dimensionality Assessment Using Photogrammetry and Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

    PubMed

    Gatziolis, Demetrios; Lienard, Jean F; Vogs, Andre; Strigul, Nikolay S

    2015-01-01

    Detailed, precise, three-dimensional (3D) representations of individual trees are a prerequisite for an accurate assessment of tree competition, growth, and morphological plasticity. Until recently, our ability to measure the dimensionality, spatial arrangement, shape of trees, and shape of tree components with precision has been constrained by technological and logistical limitations and cost. Traditional methods of forest biometrics provide only partial measurements and are labor intensive. Active remote technologies such as LiDAR operated from airborne platforms provide only partial crown reconstructions. The use of terrestrial LiDAR is laborious, has portability limitations and high cost. In this work we capitalized on recent improvements in the capabilities and availability of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), light and inexpensive cameras, and developed an affordable method for obtaining precise and comprehensive 3D models of trees and small groups of trees. The method employs slow-moving UAVs that acquire images along predefined trajectories near and around targeted trees, and computer vision-based approaches that process the images to obtain detailed tree reconstructions. After we confirmed the potential of the methodology via simulation we evaluated several UAV platforms, strategies for image acquisition, and image processing algorithms. We present an original, step-by-step workflow which utilizes open source programs and original software. We anticipate that future development and applications of our method will improve our understanding of forest self-organization emerging from the competition among trees, and will lead to a refined generation of individual-tree-based forest models. PMID:26393926

  11. Damage prognosis of adhesively-bonded joints in laminated composite structural components of unmanned aerial vehicles

    SciTech Connect

    Farrar, Charles R; Gobbato, Maurizio; Conte, Joel; Kosmatke, John; Oliver, Joseph A

    2009-01-01

    The extensive use of lightweight advanced composite materials in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) drastically increases the sensitivity to both fatigue- and impact-induced damage of their critical structural components (e.g., wings and tail stabilizers) during service life. The spar-to-skin adhesive joints are considered one of the most fatigue sensitive subcomponents of a lightweight UAV composite wing with damage progressively evolving from the wing root. This paper presents a comprehensive probabilistic methodology for predicting the remaining service life of adhesively-bonded joints in laminated composite structural components of UAVs. Non-destructive evaluation techniques and Bayesian inference are used to (i) assess the current state of damage of the system and, (ii) update the probability distribution of the damage extent at various locations. A probabilistic model for future loads and a mechanics-based damage model are then used to stochastically propagate damage through the joint. Combined local (e.g., exceedance of a critical damage size) and global (e.g.. flutter instability) failure criteria are finally used to compute the probability of component failure at future times. The applicability and the partial validation of the proposed methodology are then briefly discussed by analyzing the debonding propagation, along a pre-defined adhesive interface, in a simply supported laminated composite beam with solid rectangular cross section, subjected to a concentrated load applied at mid-span. A specially developed Eliler-Bernoulli beam finite element with interlaminar slip along the damageable interface is used in combination with a cohesive zone model to study the fatigue-induced degradation in the adhesive material. The preliminary numerical results presented are promising for the future validation of the methodology.

  12. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Assess Vegetative Cover in Sagebrush Steppe Ecosytstems

    SciTech Connect

    Robert P. Breckenridge

    2005-09-01

    The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), in conjunction with the University of Idaho, is evaluating novel approaches for using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a quicker and safer method for monitoring biotic resources. Evaluating vegetative cover is an important factor in understanding the sustainability of many ecosystems. In assessing vegetative cover, methods that improve accuracy and cost efficiency could revolutionize how biotic resources are monitored on western federal lands. Sagebrush steppe ecosystems provide important habitat for a variety of species, some of which are important indicator species (e.g., sage grouse). Improved methods are needed to support monitoring these habitats because there are not enough resource specialists or funds available for comprehensive ground evaluation of these ecosystems. In this project, two types of UAV platforms (fixed wing and helicopter) were used to collect still-frame imagery to assess cover in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. This paper discusses the process for collecting and analyzing imagery from the UAVs to (1) estimate total percent cover, (2) estimate percent cover for six different types of vegetation, and (3) locate sage grouse based on representative decoys. The field plots were located on the INL site west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, in areas with varying amounts and types of vegetative cover. A software program called SamplePoint developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) was used to evaluate the imagery for percent cover for the six vegetation types (bare ground, litter, shrubs, dead shrubs, grasses, and forbs). Results were compared against standard field measurements to assess accuracy.

  13. Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to capture ancient seismic offsets along the Altyn Tagh fault

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, M.; Xu, X.; Tapponnier, P.; van der Woerd, J.; Klinger, Y.; Derrien, A.; Bradley, K. E.

    2015-12-01

    High resolution topographic data is a key ingredient to assess the amplitude of seismic displacements along strike-slip fault. For faults that slip during earthquakes with centennial to millennial recurrence time, erosion smoothes out the sharpness of both geomorphic markers and surface breaks. Co-registred, high resolution digital elevation models and ground images are thus necessary to reconstruct past displacements and deformations along faults. The recent explosion in centimeter resolution topographic data obtained by unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) raises the possibility of mapping geomorphic offsets of active faults with unprecedented accuracy. Here we tested the technique to obtain high-resolution images and generate topographic data along the Altyn Tagh fault, main active strike-slip fault along the northern edge of Tibet. The existence of spectacular scarps, combined with the low level of instrumental seismicity and lack of well documented historical events requires especialy detailed studies of surface faulting. At several sites along the Altun segment of the fault we reconstruct well preserved offsets based on both 2D-orthophotos and 3D-views of the landscape. The results show that the UAV data provides centimeter resolution, allowing accurate mapping of past ruptures. We determine a co-seismic offset of 5.6 m for the last event south of Annanba. We also reconstruct cumulative offsets of 11±0.5 m, 22±1 m and 32±2 m. The horizontal offsets obtained suggest that last and penultimate events had similar slip amounts locally. The larger slip values deduced from the other offsets may also result from repeated 5-5.5 m co-seismic slip but more data is needed to confirm such a characteristic slip behavior. Clearly, UAV-based imagery shows great potential for high-resolution seismotectonic research and seismic hazard assessment.

  14. Tracking Forest and Open Area Effects on Snow Accumulation by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Photogrammetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lendzioch, T.; Langhammer, J.; Jenicek, M.

    2016-06-01

    Airborne digital photogrammetry is undergoing a renaissance. The availability of low-cost Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms well adopted for digital photography and progress in software development now gives rise to apply this technique to different areas of research. Especially in determining snow depth spatial distributions, where repetitive mapping of cryosphere dynamics is crucial. Here, we introduce UAV-based digital photogrammetry as a rapid and robust approach for evaluating snow accumulation over small local areas (e.g., dead forest, open areas) and to reveal impacts related to changes in forest and snowpack. Due to the advancement of the technique, snow depth of selected study areas such as of healthy forest, disturbed forest, succession, dead forest, and of open areas can be estimated at a 1 cm spatial resolution. The approach is performed in two steps: 1) developing a high resolution Digital Elevation Model during snow-free and 2) during snow-covered conditions. By substracting these two models the snow depth can be accurately retrieved and volumetric changes of snow depth distribution can be achieved. This is a first proof-of-concept study combining snow depth determination and Leaf Area Index (LAI) retrieval to monitor the impact of forest canopy metrics on snow accumulation in coniferous forest within the Šumava National Park, Czech Republic. Both, downward-looking UAV images and upward-looking LAI-2200 canopy analyser measurements were applied to reveal the LAI, controlling interception and transmitting radiation. For the performance of downward-looking images the snow background instead of the sky fraction was used. In contrast to the classical determination of LAI by hemispherical photography or by LAI plant canopy analyser, our approach will also test the accuracy of LAI measurements by UAV that are taken simultaneously during the snow cover mapping campaigns. Since the LAI parameter is important for snowpack modelling, this method presents

  15. GPR investigation of karst guided by comparison with outcrop and unmanned aerial vehicle imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandes, Antonio L.; Medeiros, Walter E.; Bezerra, Francisco H. R.; Oliveira, Josibel G.; Cazarin, Caroline L.

    2015-01-01

    The increasing importance of carbonate rocks as aquifers, oil reservoirs, and for urban problems is demanding detailed characterization of karst systems, a demand that can be partially satisfied with GPR imaging. However, the goal of imaging and interpreting karstified carbonate rocks is notoriously difficult due to the complex nature of the geometry of the dissolution and the GPR intrinsic limitations. One way forward is the direct comparison of GPR images with similar outcropping rocks. A joint study involving a 200 MHz GPR survey, unmanned aerial vehicle imagery (UAV), and outcrop characterization is presented aiming to improve the interpretation of sedimentary structures, fractures and karst structures in GPR images. The study area is a 500 m wide and 1000 m long carbonate outcrop of the Jandaíra Formation in Potiguar basin, Brazil, where sedimentary, fracture, and karst features can be directly investigated in both vertical and horizontal plan views. The key elements to interpret GPR images of karstified carbonate rocks are: (1) primary sedimentary structures appear in radargrams as unaltered imaged strata but care must be taken to interpret complex primary sedimentary features, such as those associated with bioturbation; (2) subvertical fractures might appear as consistent discontinuities in the imaged strata, forming complex structures such as negative flowers along strike-slip faults; (3) dissolution may create voids along subhorizontal layers, which appear in radargrams as relatively long amplitude shadow zones; and (4) dissolution may also create voids along subvertical fractures, appearing in radargrams as amplitude shadow zones with relatively large vertical dimensions, which are bounded by fractures.

  16. Drones at the Beach - Surf Zone Monitoring Using Rotary Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rynne, P.; Brouwer, R.; de Schipper, M. A.; Graham, F.; Reniers, A.; MacMahan, J. H.

    2014-12-01

    We investigate the potential of rotary wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to monitor the surf zone. In recent years, the arrival of lightweight, high-capacity batteries, low-power electronics and compact high-definition cameras has driven the development of commercially available UAVs for hobbyists. Moreover, the low operation costs have increased their potential for scientific research as these UAVs are extremely flexible surveying platforms. The UAVs can fly for ~12 min with a mean loiter radius of 1 - 3.5 m and a mean loiter error of 0.75 - 4.5 m, depending on the environmental conditions, flying style, battery type and vehicle type. Our experiments using multiple, alternating UAVs show that it is possible to have near continuous imagery data with similar Fields Of View. The images obtained from the UAVs (Fig. 1a), and in combination with surveyed Ground Control Points (GCPs) (Fig. 1b, red squares and white circles), can be geo-rectified (Fig. 1c) to pixel resolution between 0.01 - 1 m and a reprojection error, i.e. the difference between the surveyed GPS location of a GCP and the location of the GCP obtained from the geo-rectified image, of O(1 m). These geo-rectified images provide data on a variety of coastal aspects, such as beach width (Wb(x,t)), surf zone width (Wsf(x,t)), wave breaking location (rectangle B), beach usage (circle C) and location of dune vegegation (rectangle D), amongst others. Additionally, the possibility to have consecutive, high frequency (up to 2 Hz) rectified images makes the UAVs a great data instrument for spatially and temporally variable systems, such as the surf zone. Our first observations with the UAVs reveal the potential to quickly obtain surf zone and beach characteristics in response to storms or for day to day beach information, as well as the scientific pursuits of surf zone kinematics on different spatial and temporal scales, and dispersion and advection estimates of pollutants/dye. A selection of findings from

  17. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Mounted Cold Mist Spray of Permethrin and Tetramethylfluthrin Targeting Aedes albopictus in China.

    PubMed

    Li, Chun-Xiao; Zhang, Ying-Mei; Dong, Yan-De; Zhou, Ming-Hao; Zhang, Heng-Duan; Chen, Hong-Na; Tian, Ye; Yang, Wei-Fang; Wu, Xiao-Qun; Chu, Hong-Liang; Zhao, Tong-Yan

    2016-03-01

    Aedes albopictus is the primary vector of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever in China. Although there are previous studies on the application of adulticides to control this species, the application methods have either been back-pack or vehicle-mounted systems. However, many sites are too large to be effectively treated with back-pack sprayers, and the lack of roads restricts the use of vehicle-mounted sprayers. This paper provides the first study of using unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct cold mist sprays on Ae. albopictus habitats. A spray containing 4% permethrin and 1% tetramethylfluthrin was applied at an effective application rate of 9.0 mg/m(2). This method reduced Ae. albopictus populations by more than 90%. The results indicate this novel spray system is a powerful method to achieve a rapid decline of mosquito population in Ae. albopictus habitats in China. PMID:27105218

  18. Using unmanned aerial vehicle-borne magnetic sensors to detect and locate improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trammell, Hoke S., III; Perry, Alexander R.; Kumar, Sankaran; Czipott, Peter V.; Whitecotton, Brian R.; McManus, Tobin J.; Walsh, David O.

    2005-05-01

    Magnetic sensors configured as a tensor magnetic gradiometer not only detect magnetic targets, but also determine their location and their magnetic moment. Magnetic moment information can be used to characterize and classify objects. Unexploded ordnance (UXO) and thus many types of improvised explosive device (IED) contain steel, and thus can be detected magnetically. Suitable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms, both gliders and powered craft, can enable coverage of a search area much more rapidly than surveys using, for instance, total-field magnetometers. We present data from gradiometer passes over different shells using a gradiometer mounted on a moving cart. We also provide detection range and speed estimates for aerial detection by a UAV.

  19. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in monitoring applications and management of natural hazards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piras, Marco; Aicardi, Irene; Lingua, Andrea; Noardo, Francesca; Chiabrando, Filiberto

    2015-04-01

    In the last years following the damages derived by the climate change (such as flooding and so on) it is growing the necessity to monitor the watercourses with effective and quickly method, where low cost solutions are particularly interested. In some cases, it is essential to have information about the riverbed, the river banks and to analyze the springs and the way in which the water moves. For the terrestrial point of view this knowledge can be acquired through GNSS and topographic methods, but they are still too manually so that they are time-consuming with respect the acquisition of information about the entire area. Another possibility is to perform a laser scanner survey, but the most common instruments (economically sustainable) have some problems to acquire information of sub-water-layer. Moreover, terrestrial surveys from cameras (such as visible, thermic or hyperspectral sensors) can't always offer a useful view of the case study due to the fact that they have a limited range of possible points of acquisition. For these reasons, it can be more effective to have an aerial point of view of the river, for example using UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), which have been experimented in these last years for environmental investigations. The proposed studies include photogrammetric and thermographic applications in order to investigate a new post-flooding riverbed arrangement and to identify some sub-riverbed springs inside a stream in order to monitor the behavior of two studied watercourses. The tests have been carried out with a customized low-cost mini-UAV based on the Mikrokopter Hexakopter solution embedded with a navigation system for the autonomous flight (GNSS/IMU) and with the possibility to house different kind of sensors, such as a camera, a GNSS receiver, a LiDAR sensor, a thermographic camera and more other sensors, but with the limitation of a 1.2 Kg payload. The most significant innovation is the possibility to perform quickly and economical

  20. Endurance bounds of aerial systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrington, Aaron M.; Kroninger, Christopher M.

    2014-06-01

    Within the past few years micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) have received much more attention and are starting to proliferate into military as well as civilian roles. However, one of the major drawbacks for this technology currently, has been their poor endurance, usually below 10 minutes. This is a direct result of the inefficiencies inherent in their design. Often times, designers do not consider the various components in the vehicle design and match their performance to the desired mission for the vehicle. These vehicles lack a prescribed set of design guidelines or empirically derived design equations which often limits their design to selection of commercial off-the-shelf components without proper consideration of their affect on vehicle performance. In the current study, the design space for different vehicle configurations has been examined including insect flapping, avian flapping, rotary wing, and fixed wing, and their performance bounds are established. The propulsion system typical of a rotary wing vehicle is analyzed to establish current baselines for efficiency of vehicles at this scale. The power draw from communications is analyzed to determine its impact on vehicle performance. Finally, a representative fixed wing MAV is examined and the effects of adaptive structures as a means for increasing vehicle endurance and range are examined. This paper seeks to establish the performance bounds for micro air vehicles and establish a path forward for future designs so that efficiency may be maximized.

  1. Flow Analysis over Batten Reinforced Wings for Micro Air Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Townsend, Kurtis; Hicks, Travis; Hubner, James P.

    2008-11-01

    Flexible membrane wings modify the flow separation of low Reynolds number micro air vehicles (MAVs). A specific type of fixed-wing geometry is a batten-reinforced configuration in which the membrane is attached to a rigid frame with chordwise battens, allowing the vibration of the membrane at the trailing-edge. In this study, smoke-wire visualization and hot-wire anemometry, both near the trailing-edge and further downstream in the wake, are used to quantify the frequency and energy of these fluctuations for various cell geometries and flow angles-of-attack. Improvement in the wake momentum deficit will be analyzed to determine preferred membrane cell geometries for MAV flight conditions.

  2. Integration of an Autopilot for a Micro Air Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Platanitis, George; Shkarayev, Sergey

    2005-01-01

    Two autopilots providing autonomous flight capabilities are presented herein. The first is the Pico-Pilot, demonstrated for the 12-inch size class of micro air vehicles. The second is the MicroPilot MP2028(sup g), where its integration into a 36-inch Zagi airframe (tailless, elevons only configuration) is investigated and is the main focus of the report. Analytical methods, which include the use of the Advanced Aircraft Analysis software from DARCorp, were used to determine the stability and control derivatives, which were then validated through wind tunnel experiments. From the aerodynamic data, the linear, perturbed equations of motion from steady-state flight conditions may be cast in terms of these derivatives. Using these linear equations, transfer functions for the control and navigation systems were developed and feedback control laws based on Proportional, Integral, and Derivative (PID) control design were developed to control the aircraft. The PID gains may then be programmed into the autopilot software and uploaded to the microprocessor of the autopilot. The Pico-Pilot system was flight tested and shown to be successful in navigating a 12-inch MAV through a course defined by a number of waypoints with a high degree of accuracy, and in 20 mph winds. The system, though, showed problems with control authority in the roll and pitch motion of the aircraft: causing oscillations in these directions, but the aircraft maintained its heading while following the prescribed course. Flight tests were performed in remote control mode to evaluate handling, adjust trim, and test data logging for the Zagi with integrated MP2028(sup g). Ground testing was performed to test GPS acquisition, data logging, and control response in autonomous mode. Technical difficulties and integration limitations with the autopilot prevented fully autonomous flight from taking place, but the integration methodologies developed for this autopilot are, in general, applicable for unmanned air

  3. Development of Micro Air Vehicle Technology With In-Flight Adaptive-Wing Structure

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Waszak, Martin R. (Technical Monitor); Shkarayev, Sergey; Null, William; Wagner, Matthew

    2004-01-01

    This is a final report on the research studies, "Development of Micro Air Vehicle Technology with In-Flight Adaptrive-Wing Structure". This project involved the development of variable-camber technology to achieve efficient design of micro air vehicles. Specifically, it focused on the following topics: 1) Low Reynolds number wind tunnel testing of cambered-plate wings. 2) Theoretical performance analysis of micro air vehicles. 3) Design of a variable-camber MAV actuated by micro servos. 4) Test flights of a variable-camber MAV.

  4. A new stratospheric sounding platform based on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) droppable from meteorological balloon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Efremov, Denis; Khaykin, Sergey; Lykov, Alexey; Berezhko, Yaroslav; Lunin, Aleksey

    High-resolution measurements of climate-relevant trace gases and aerosols in the upper troposphere and stratosphere (UTS) have been and remain technically challenging. The high cost of measurements onboard airborne platforms or heavy stratospheric balloons results in a lack of accurate information on vertical distribution of atmospheric constituents. Whereas light-weight instruments carried by meteorological balloons are becoming progressively available, their usage is constrained by the cost of the equipment or the recovery operations. The evolving need in cost-efficient observations for UTS process studies has led to development of small airborne platforms - unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), capable of carrying small sensors for in-situ measurements. We present a new UAV-based stratospheric sounding platform capable of carrying scientific payload of up to 2 kg. The airborne platform comprises of a latex meteorological balloon and detachable flying wing type UAV with internal measurement controller. The UAV is launched on a balloon to stratospheric altitudes up to 20 km, where it can be automatically released by autopilot or by a remote command sent from the ground control. Having been released from the balloon the UAV glides down and returns to the launch position. Autopilot using 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, barometer, compas and GPS navigation provides flight stabilization and optimal way back trajectory. Backup manual control is provided for emergencies. During the flight the onboard measurement controller stores the data into internal memory and transmits current flight parameters to the ground station via telemetry. Precise operation of the flight control systems ensures safe landing at the launch point. A series of field tests of the detachable stratospheric UAV has been conducted. The scientific payload included the following instruments involved in different flights: a) stratospheric Lyman-alpha hygrometer (FLASH); b) backscatter sonde; c) electrochemical

  5. Genetic Fuzzy Trees for Intelligent Control of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ernest, Nicholas D.

    Fuzzy Logic Control is a powerful tool that has found great success in a variety of applications. This technique relies less on complex mathematics and more "expert knowledge" of a system to bring about high-performance, resilient, and efficient control through linguistic classification of inputs and outputs and if-then rules. Genetic Fuzzy Systems (GFSs) remove the need of this expert knowledge and instead rely on a Genetic Algorithm (GA) and have similarly found great success. However, the combination of these methods suffer severely from scalability; the number of rules required to control the system increases exponentially with the number of states the inputs and outputs can take. Therefor GFSs have thus far not been applicable to complex, artificial intelligence type problems. The novel Genetic Fuzzy Tree (GFT) method breaks down complex problems hierarchically, makes sub-decisions when possible, and thus greatly reduces the burden on the GA. This development significantly changes the field of possible applications for GFSs. Within this study, this is demonstrated through applying this technique to a difficult air combat problem. Looking forward to an autonomous Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) in the 2030 time-frame, it becomes apparent that the mission, flight, and ground controls will utilize the emerging paradigm of Intelligent Systems (IS); namely, the ability to learn, adapt, exhibit robustness in uncertain situations, make sense of the data collected in real-time and extrapolate when faced with scenarios significantly different from those used in training. LETHA (Learning Enhanced Tactical Handling Algorithm) was created to develop intelligent controllers for these advanced unmanned craft as the first GFT. A simulation space referred to as HADES (Hoplological Autonomous Defend and Engage Simulation) was created in which LETHA can train the UCAVs. Equipped with advanced sensors, a limited supply of Self-Defense Missiles (SDMs), and a recharging

  6. Closing Scale Gaps in Ecological Research using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: a meta-data synthesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grossman, R. H.; Guan, K.; Estes, L. D.; Caylor, K. K.; Dandois, J. P.

    2013-12-01

    The use of remote sensing for ecological purposes leaves a growing consensus that a spatial and temporal ';gap' exists between field studies and conventional remote sensing techniques. Field studies bring a sharper resolution than remote sensing techniques, but without overwhelming manpower cannot hope to cover the same amount of area. In addition, while remote sensing techniques cover large amounts of land, remote sensing contains a tradeoff between resolution and regularity, as frequent updates are possible only at coarse spatial resolution. The rapid improvement in UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) technology offers the potential to fill this ';gap' in data collection, and thereby provide new ecological insights. UAVs offer the ability to collect data at both higher spatial and temporal resolutions than satellites or manned aircraft (and at a much cheaper cost), while covering much larger areas more frequently than the field ecologist. We identify this gap by examining the spatial and temporal resolutions and coverages of a representative sample of recent remote sensing and field-based ecological studies. We randomly sampled the titles of 200 studies published during the last 3 years from 20 high-impact ecology journals, and extracted resolution and extent information from their Methods sections. Of these studies, slightly over 100 provide adequate information for our analysis. We analyze the gap in two-dimensional space. Along the X-axis, we define the temporal components as a vector where the temporal frequency of the study defines the minimum X value for each observation (study), and the temporal duration defines the maximum value. On the Y-axis, the study spatial resolution defines the minimum value while the total spatial extent defines the maximum value. In the manner, each study is represented as an irregular two-dimensional polygon. We divide the plot area into discrete grid cells and sum the number of polygons intersecting each cell, representing field

  7. Miniaturized aerosol, cloud and radiometric payloads for small unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberts, G.; Corrigan, C.; Ramana, M.; Ramanathan, V.

    2007-12-01

    Miniaturized aerosol, cloud and radiometric payloads were developed to advance atmospheric observations using small autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (AUAVs). The observing system consisted of three vertically- stacked AUAVs to allow simultaneous sampling of the earth's atmosphere - offering new insights to radiation budgets and aerosol-cloud interactions. To accomplish this campaign, aerosol, cloud, radiometric instruments, and an integrated data acquisition system have been miniaturized with a total payload weight less than 4 kg and power less than 30 W. Due to size and weight limitations of the lightweight AUAV platform, the payloads are mission-specific and outfitted to perform a defined set of measurements depending on the scientific goals. These measurements include aerosol concentration, aerosol size distribution, aerosol absorption, cloud drop concentration and size distribution, solar radiation fluxes (visible and broadband), temperature, pressure, and relative humidity. The data integrity has been validated using standard calibration routines in conjunction with ground-based and laboratory instruments, as well as inter-aircraft comparisons. The instrument suite includes commercially-available instruments that have been repackaged or redesigned to minimize weight and volume and improve their performance. Several instruments have been completely redesigned including an aerosol inlet, absorption photometer based on an aethelometer and cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) counter. Re-engineering of the absorption photometer's optics and electronics improved its performance at three wavelengths. The CCN instrument has been reduced to less than 2kg (compared to 28 kg) without compromising performance utilizing theory and model simulations to optimize design and define operating limits. A shrouded aerosol inlet was specifically designed for the AUAVs to minimize sample biases in aerosol number and size distributions. The radiometric sensors perform well during

  8. A Possibility of the Aeromagnetic Survey by a Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Ant-Plane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Funaki, M.

    2004-12-01

    Magnetic surveys by helicopters and airplanes are a useful technique to estimate the geological structure under the ice sheets in Antarctica. However, it is not easy to employ this due to the transportation of the planes, logistic supports, security, and financial problems. Members of Ant-Plane Project have investigated the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, Ant-Plane) for the solution of the problems. Recently the aeromagnetic survey is verified by a model airplane navigated by GPS and a magneto-resistant (MR) magnetometer. The airplane (Ant-Plane) consists of 2m wing length, 2-cycles and 2-cylinder 85cc gasoline engine, GPS navigation system by microcomputer and radio telemeter system. The total weight is 15kg including 2 litter fuels, the MR magnetometer, a video camera and an emergency parachute. The speed is 130 km/h and maximum height is 2000m. The magnetometer system consists of a 3- component MR magnetometer, GPS and data logger. Three components of magnetic field, latitude, longitude, altitude, number of satellite and time are recorded in every second during 3 hours. The sensitivity of the magnetometer is 7 nT and we use a total magnetic field intensity for magnetic analysis due to unknown heading of the plane. November 2003 we succeeded the magnetic survey by the Ant-Plane at the slope of Sakurajima Volcano, Kyushu, Japan. The plane rotated 9 times along the programmed route of about 4x1 km, total flight distance of 80 km, keeping the altitude of 700 m. Consequently we obtained almost similar field variation on the route. The maximum deviation of each course was less than 100 m. Therefore, we concluded that the aeromagnetic survey in the relatively large anomaly areas can be performed by Ant-Plane with the MR magnetometer system. Finally the plane flew up 1400m with a video camera to take the photo of active volcano Sakurajima (1117m). It succeeded to take photos of craters through steam from the volcano.

  9. State estimation for autopilot control of small unmanned aerial vehicles in windy conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poorman, David Paul

    The use of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) both in the military and civil realms is growing. This is largely due to the proliferation of inexpensive sensors and the increase in capability of small computers that has stemmed from the personal electronic device market. Methods for performing accurate state estimation for large scale aircraft have been well known and understood for decades, which usually involve a complex array of expensive high accuracy sensors. Performing accurate state estimation for small unmanned aircraft is a newer area of study and often involves adapting known state estimation methods to small UAVs. State estimation for small UAVs can be more difficult than state estimation for larger UAVs due to small UAVs employing limited sensor suites due to cost, and the fact that small UAVs are more susceptible to wind than large aircraft. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the ability of existing methods of state estimation for small UAVs to accurately capture the states of the aircraft that are necessary for autopilot control of the aircraft in a Dryden wind field. The research begins by showing which aircraft states are necessary for autopilot control in Dryden wind. Then two state estimation methods that employ only accelerometer, gyro, and GPS measurements are introduced. The first method uses assumptions on aircraft motion to directly solve for attitude information and smooth GPS data, while the second method integrates sensor data to propagate estimates between GPS measurements and then corrects those estimates with GPS information. The performance of both methods is analyzed with and without Dryden wind, in straight and level flight, in a coordinated turn, and in a wings level ascent. It is shown that in zero wind, the first method produces significant steady state attitude errors in both a coordinated turn and in a wings level ascent. In Dryden wind, it produces large noise on the estimates for its attitude states, and has a non

  10. Observing changes at Santiaguito Volcano, Guatemala with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    von Aulock, Felix W.; Lavallée, Yan; Hornby, Adrian J.; Lamb, Oliver D.; Andrews, Benjamin J.; Kendrick, Jackie E.

    2016-04-01

    Santiaguito Volcano (Guatemala) is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, producing several ash venting explosions per day for almost 100 years. Lahars, lava flows and dome and flank collapses that produce major pyroclastic density currents also present a major hazard to nearby farms and communities. Optical observations of both the vent as well as the lava flow fronts can provide scientists and local monitoring staff with important information on the current state of volcanic activity and hazard. Due to the strong activity, and difficult terrain, unmanned aerial vehicles can help to provide valuable data on the activities of the volcano at a safe distance. We collected a series of images and video footage of A.) The active vent of Caliente and B.) The flow front of the active lava flow and its associated lahar channels, both in May 2015 and in December 2015- January 2016. Images of the crater and the lava flows were used for the reconstruction of 3D terrain models using structure-from-motion. These were supported by still frames from the video recording. Video footage of the summit crater (during two separate ash venting episodes) and the lava flow fronts indicate the following differences in activity during those two field campaigns: A.) - A new breach opened on the east side of the crater rim, possibly during the collapse in November 2015. - The active lava dome is now almost completely covered with ash, only leaving the largest blocks and faults exposed in times without gas venting - A recorded explosive event in December 2015 initiates at subparallel linear faults near the centre of the dome, rather than arcuate or ring faults, with a later, separate, and more ash-laden burst occurring from an off-centre fracture, however, other explosions during the observation period were seen to persist along the ring fault system observed on the lava dome since at least 2007 - suggesting a diversification of explosive activity. B.) - The lava flow fronts did

  11. Digital Camera Calibration Using Images Taken from AN Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pérez, M.; Agüera, F.; Carvajal, F.

    2011-09-01

    For calibrating the camera, an accurate determination of the interior orientation parameters is needed. For more accurate results, the calibration images should be taken under conditions that are similar to the field samples. The aim of this work is the establishment of an efficient and accurate digital camera calibration method to be used in particular working conditions, as it can be found with our UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) photogrammetric projects. The UAV used in this work was md4-200 modelled by Microdrones. The microdrone is also equipped with a standard digital non- metric camera, the Pentax Optio A40 camera. To find out the interior orientation parameters of the digital camera, two calibration methods were done. A lab calibration based on a flat pattern and a field calibration were fulfilled. To carry out the calibration, Photomodeler Scanner software was used in both cases. The lab calibration process was completely automatic using a calibration grid. The focal length was fixed at widest angle and the network included a total of twelve images with± 90º roll angles. In order to develop the field calibration, a flight plan was programmed including a total of twelve images. In the same way as in the lab calibration, the focal length was fixed at widest angle. The field test used in the study was a flat surface located on the University of Almería campus and a set of 67 target points were placed. The calibration field area was 25 × 25 m approximately and the altitude flight over ground was 50 m. After the software processing, the camera calibration parameter values were obtained. The paper presents the process, the results and the accuracy of these calibration methods. The field calibration method reduced the final total error obtained in the previous lab calibration. Furthermore the overall RMSs obtained from both methods are similar. Therefore we will apply the field calibration results to all our photogrammetric projects in which the flight high

  12. Application of high resolution images from unmanned aerial vehicles for hydrology and rangeland science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rango, A.; Vivoni, E. R.; Anderson, C. A.; Perini, N. A.; Saripalli, S.; Laliberte, A.

    2012-12-01

    A common problem in many natural resource disciplines is the lack of high-enough spatial resolution images that can be used for monitoring and modeling purposes. Advances have been made in the utilization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in hydrology and rangeland science. By utilizing low flight altitudes and velocities, UAVs are able to produce high resolution (5 cm) images as well as stereo coverage (with 75% forward overlap and 40% sidelap) to extract digital elevation models (DEM). Another advantage of flying at low altitude is that the potential problems of atmospheric haze obscuration are eliminated. Both small fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft have been used in our experiments over two rangeland areas in the Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico and the Santa Rita Experimental Range in southern Arizona. The fixed-wing UAV has a digital camera in the wing and six-band multispectral camera in the nose, while the rotary-wing UAV carries a digital camera as payload. Because we have been acquiring imagery for several years, there are now > 31,000 photos at one of the study sites, and 177 mosaics over rangeland areas have been constructed. Using the DEM obtained from the imagery we have determined the actual catchment areas of three watersheds and compared these to previous estimates. At one site, the UAV-derived watershed area is 4.67 ha which is 22% smaller compared to a manual survey using a GPS unit obtained several years ago. This difference can be significant in constructing a watershed model of the site. From a vegetation species classification, we also determined that two of the shrub types in this small watershed(mesquite and creosote with 6.47 % and 5.82% cover, respectively) grow in similar locations(flat upland areas with deep soils), whereas the most predominant shrub(mariola with 11.9% cover) inhabits hillslopes near stream channels(with steep shallow soils). The positioning of these individual shrubs throughout the catchment using

  13. Improving Rangeland Monitoring and Assessment: Integrating Remote Sensing, GIS, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Robert Paul Breckenridge

    2007-05-01

    Creeping environmental changes are impacting some of the largest remaining intact parcels of sagebrush steppe ecosystems in the western United States, creating major problems for land managers. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), located in southeastern Idaho, is part of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, one of the largest ecosystems on the continent. Scientists at the INL and the University of Idaho have integrated existing field and remotely sensed data with geographic information systems technology to analyze how recent fires on the INL have influenced the current distribution of terrestrial vegetation. Three vegetation mapping and classification systems were used to evaluate the changes in vegetation caused by fires between 1994 and 2003. Approximately 24% of the sagebrush steppe community on the INL was altered by fire, mostly over a 5-year period. There were notable differences between methods, especially for juniper woodland and grasslands. The Anderson system (Anderson et al. 1996) was superior for representing the landscape because it includes playa/bare ground/disturbed area and sagebrush steppe on lava as vegetation categories. This study found that assessing existing data sets is useful for quantifying fire impacts and should be helpful in future fire and land use planning. The evaluation identified that data from remote sensing technologies is not currently of sufficient quality to assess the percentage of cover. To fill this need, an approach was designed using both helicopter and fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and image processing software to evaluate six cover types on field plots located on the INL. The helicopter UAV provided the best system compared against field sampling, but is more dangerous and has spatial coverage limitations. It was reasonably accurate for dead shrubs and was very good in assessing percentage of bare ground, litter and grasses; accuracy for litter and shrubs is questionable. The fixed wing system proved to be

  14. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Remote Sensing of Shallow Snow: Assessment and Possibilities for Improved Snow Depletion Prediction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harder, P.; Pomeroy, J. W.; Helgason, W.

    2015-12-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been enthusiastically adopted by many earth scientists due to their ability to provide Digital Surface Models (DSM) and orthomosaics of unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. These datasets have great potential to advance the prediction of snow hydrology in particular but have had little testing in areas of shallow snowcover. To assess the utility and possibilities of UAV data products for quantifying and predicting the properties and processes of shallow snowcovers, an intensive field campaign took place during the 2015 melt season in a prairie agricultural field in Saskatchewan, Canada. The wheat field with standing stubble (15-35cm) had little topographic relief, a shallow snow (peak <40cm) and became patchy as snowcovered area declined during melt. Over the 25-day melt period 24 flights were performed with a Sensefly Ebee UAV to map the 120 hectare area. Structure from motion techniques, as implemented in Postflight Terra 3D software, generated DSMs and orthomosaics at a 3.5 cm resolution. Orthomosaic analysis quantified snowcovered area at unprecedented accuracy and frequency allowing for new insights into the spatial characteristics of the snowcover depletion process. However, vertical errors of the DSMs were significant (root mean square error of 10-20cm) compared to snow depth, making any comparisons of DSMs too uncertain to be useful for estimating ablation directly. In contrast, the relative accuracy of the DSMs was sufficient to calculate a DSM roughness index that relates to the coefficient of variation of snow water equivalent (SWE), as measured from intensive ground measurements. The DSM roughness index alone can predict the shape of the snow depletion curve and, if used in conjunction with point measured or modelled SWE, can calculate the SWE frequency distribution and snowcover depletion. It is proposed that UAV derived surface roughness, in conjunction with point modelled or observed SWE can provide a

  15. Aerosol, cloud, and radiometric measurements with small autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramanathan, V.; Roberts, G.; Corrigan, C.; Ramana, M.; Nguyen, H.

    2005-12-01

    The AUAV (autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle) project is a part of the Atmospheric Brown Clouds project. It has been designed to allow for routine vertical profile measurements of aerosols and clouds using AUAVs above ground-based observatories in the Indo-Pacific Ocean region. The current scientific payloads consist of optical particle counters, condensation particle counters, cloud droplet probes, aethelometers, upward and downward facing pyranometers, and temperature-relative humidity sensors. Aerosol, cloud and radiometric instruments have been miniaturized with a total payload weight and power less than 5 kg and 50 W, respectively. Demonstration flights at the Yuma Proving Grounds, AZ show the potential for small AUAVs in atmospheric studies. The flights were performed on two aircraft, which flew autonomously up to 3000 m above sea level (asl) along programmed flight tracks. The aircraft flew in stacked formation for part of the flights. Once the aircraft were stacked (550 and 2100 m asl), the projected distances were less than 50 m - which translates to less than a 1.5 sec latency between the aircraft. Vertical profiles show a constant 8 K km-1 lapse rate and increasing relative humidity with altitude. At 2000 m asl (1600 m above ground level), an aerosol layer is evident in the total aerosol concentration profile (NCN = 2000 cm-3); relative humidity also increased by 10% in this layer. No such increase in 0.3 μm aerosol (NOPC) is visible at 2000 m asl, suggesting transport from an urban center. Back trajectories indicate air masses originated from south and west across central Baja California, Mexico. Aerosol concentrations are fairly constant at 1000 cm-3 throughout the profile indicating a well-mixed boundary layer. Spikes in aerosol concentrations are a result of sampling the aircrafts' exhaust. The vertical profiles show that spikes occurred at levels where the aircraft maintained level, repeating holding patterns. The cloud droplet probe was flown

  16. Spatial distribution of water stress and evapotranspiration estimates using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rauneker, P.; Lischeid, G.

    2012-04-01

    The estimation of spatial distribution of evapotranspiration poses a particular challenge in quantitative hydrology. Conventional methods provide punctual measurements of evapotranspiration rates which may be transformed into aggregated mean values by extrapolation or the application of empirical models. The influence of spatial structures (heterogeneity of the landscape) in relevant small spatial scales is captured insufficiently by these methods. Modern optical remote sensors aboard an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) provide the basis for the generation of high spatial resolution data. Spectral data in the optical, near infrared and thermal infrared domain will be used as input into a surface energy balance (SEB) model to produce evapotranspiration maps. The spectral properties of vegetation are of particular importance for the calculation, since plants are the link between soil and atmosphere and thus have major impact on evapotranspiration rates of land surfaces. First estimates of plant status and indicators of transpiration behavior will be obtained by applying and combining water stress parameters of different wavelengths. As opposed to satellite data, time-series of self-determined spatial and temporal resolution may be created by varying flight altitude and turnaround times. Thus it is possible to analyze the influence of landscape structures, as well as the chronological development of the observed parameters. Located at the interface between hydrology and remote sensing this work utilizes an innovative remote sensing platform to gain distributed spectral information. This information will be used to visualize evapotranspiration patterns in hydrological heterogeneous areas. Particular attention will be paid to the analysis of transition zones of varying water supply and under the influence of selected environmental parameters (e.g. soil moisture, depth of GW-table). To reach that goal it is essential to generate a robust processing chain, involving all

  17. A methodology for the validated design space exploration of fuel cell powered unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moffitt, Blake Almy

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are the most dynamic growth sector of the aerospace industry today. The need to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for military operations is driving the planned acquisition of over 5,000 UAVs over the next five years. The most pressing need is for quiet, small UAVs with endurance beyond what is capable with advanced batteries or small internal combustion propulsion systems. Fuel cell systems demonstrate high efficiency, high specific energy, low noise, low temperature operation, modularity, and rapid refuelability making them a promising enabler of the small, quiet, and persistent UAVs that military planners are seeking. Despite the perceived benefits, the actual near-term performance of fuel cell powered UAVs is unknown. Until the auto industry began spending billions of dollars in research, fuel cell systems were too heavy for useful flight applications. However, the last decade has seen rapid development with fuel cell gravimetric and volumetric power density nearly doubling every 2--3 years. As a result, a few design studies and demonstrator aircraft have appeared, but overall the design methodology and vehicles are still in their infancy. The design of fuel cell aircraft poses many challenges. Fuel cells differ fundamentally from combustion based propulsion in how they generate power and interact with other aircraft subsystems. As a result, traditional multidisciplinary analysis (MDA) codes are inappropriate. Building new MDAs is difficult since fuel cells are rapidly changing in design, and various competitive architectures exist for balance of plant, hydrogen storage, and all electric aircraft subsystems. In addition, fuel cell design and performance data is closely protected which makes validation difficult and uncertainty significant. Finally, low specific power and high volumes compared to traditional combustion based propulsion result in more highly constrained design spaces that are

  18. Utilization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Rangeland Resources Monitoring in a Changing Regulatory Environment (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rango, A.; Vivoni, E. R.; Browning, D. M.; Anderson, C.; Laliberte, A. S.

    2013-12-01

    It is taking longer than expected to realize the immense potential of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)for civil applications due to the complexity of regulations being developed by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that can be applied to both manned and unmanned flight in the National Airspace System (NAS). As a result, FAA has required that for all UAV flights in the NAS, an external pilot must maintain line-of-sight contact with the UAV. Properly trained observers must also be present to assist the external pilot in collision avoidance. Additionally, in order to fly in the NAS, formal approval must be requested from FAA through application for a Certificate of Authorization (COA for government applicants or a Special Airworthiness Certificate (SAC) in the experimental category for non-government applicants. Flight crews of UAVs must pass exams also required for manned airplane pilots. Although flight crews for UAVs are not required to become manned airplane pilots, UAV flight missions are much more efficient if one or two of the UAV flight crew are also manned aircraft pilots so they can serve as the UAV mission commander. Our group has performed numerous UAV flights within the Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico. Two developments with Jornada UAVs can be recommended to other UAV operators that would increase flight time experience and study areas covered by UAV images. First, do not overlook the possibility of obtaining permission to fly in Restricted Military Airspace (RMA). At the Jornada, our airspace is approximately 50% NAS and 50% RMA. With experiments ongoing in both types of airspace, we can fly in both areas and continue to increase UAV flights. Second, we have developed an air- and-ground vehicle approach for long distance, continuous pilot transport that always maintains line-of-sight requirements. This allows flying several target areas on a single mission and increasing the number of acquired UAV images - over 90,000 UAV images have

  19. Wildlife Multispecies Remote Sensing Using Visible and Thermal Infrared Imagery Acquired from AN Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (uav)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chrétien, L.-P.; Théau, J.; Ménard, P.

    2015-08-01

    Wildlife aerial surveys require time and significant resources. Multispecies detection could reduce costs to a single census for species that coexist spatially. Traditional methods are demanding for observers in terms of concentration and are not adapted to multispecies censuses. The processing of multispectral aerial imagery acquired from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) represents a potential solution for multispecies detection. The method used in this study is based on a multicriteria object-based image analysis applied on visible and thermal infrared imagery acquired from a UAV. This project aimed to detect American bison, fallow deer, gray wolves, and elks located in separate enclosures with a known number of individuals. Results showed that all bison and elks were detected without errors, while for deer and wolves, 0-2 individuals per flight line were mistaken with ground elements or undetected. This approach also detected simultaneously and separately the four targeted species even in the presence of other untargeted ones. These results confirm the potential of multispectral imagery acquired from UAV for wildlife census. Its operational application remains limited to small areas related to the current regulations and available technology. Standardization of the workflow will help to reduce time and expertise requirements for such technology.

  20. MaNIAC-UAV - a methodology for automatic pavement defects detection using images obtained by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henrique Castelo Branco, Luiz; César Lima Segantine, Paulo

    2015-09-01

    Intelligent Transportation Systems - ITS is a set of integrated technologies (Remote Sensing, Image Processing, Communications Systems and others) that aim to offer services and advanced traffic management for the several transportation modes (road, air and rail). Collect data on the characteristics and conditions of the road surface and keep them update is an important and difficult task that needs to be currently managed in order to reduce accidents and vehicle maintenance costs. Nowadays several roads and highways are paved, but usually there is insufficient updated data about current condition and status. There are different types of pavement defects on the roads and to keep them in good condition they should be constantly monitored and maintained according to pavement management strategy. This paper presents a methodology to obtain, automatically, information about the conditions of the highway asphalt pavement. Data collection was done through remote sensing using an UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and the image processing and pattern recognition techniques through Geographic Information System.

  1. Methods for In-Flight Wing Shape Predictions of Highly Flexible Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Formulation of Ko Displacement Theory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ko, William L.; Fleischer, Van Tran

    2010-01-01

    The Ko displacement theory is formulated for a cantilever tubular wing spar under bending, torsion, and combined bending and torsion loading. The Ko displacement equations are expressed in terms of strains measured at multiple sensing stations equally spaced on the surface of the wing spar. The bending and distortion strain data can then be input to the displacement equations to calculate slopes, deflections, and cross-sectional twist angles of the wing spar at the strain-sensing stations for generating the deformed shapes of flexible aircraft wing spars. The displacement equations have been successfully validated for accuracy by finite-element analysis. The Ko displacement theory that has been formulated could also be applied to calculate the deformed shape of simple and tapered beams, plates, and tapered cantilever wing boxes. The Ko displacement theory and associated strain-sensing system (such as fiber optic sensors) form a powerful tool for in-flight deformation monitoring of flexible wings and tails, such as those often employed on unmanned aerial vehicles. Ultimately, the calculated displacement data can be visually displayed in real time to the ground-based pilot for monitoring the deformed shape of unmanned aerial vehicles during flight.

  2. System identification of a small low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle using flight data from low-cost sensors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoffer, Nathan Von

    Remote sensing has traditionally been done with satellites and manned aircraft. While. these methods can yield useful scientificc data, satellites and manned aircraft have limitations in data frequency, process time, and real time re-tasking. Small low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide greater possibilities for personal scientic research than traditional remote sensing platforms. Precision aerial data requires an accurate vehicle dynamics model for controller development, robust flight characteristics, and fault tolerance. One method of developing a model is system identification (system ID). In this thesis system ID of a small low-cost fixed-wing T-tail UAV is conducted. The linerized longitudinal equations of motion are derived from first principles. Foundations of Recursive Least Squares (RLS) are presented along with RLS with an Error Filtering Online Learning scheme (EFOL). Sensors, data collection, data consistency checking, and data processing are described. Batch least squares (BLS) and BLS with EFOL are used to identify aerodynamic coecoefficients of the UAV. Results of these two methods with flight data are discussed.

  3. Performance modeling of unmanned aerial vehicles with on-board energy harvesting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anton, Steven R.; Inman, Daniel J.

    2011-03-01

    The concept of energy harvesting in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has received much attention in recent years. Solar powered flight of small aircraft dates back to the 1970s when the first fully solar flight of an unmanned aircraft took place. Currently, research has begun to investigate harvesting ambient vibration energy during the flight of UAVs. The authors have recently developed multifunctional piezoelectric self-charging structures in which piezoelectric devices are combined with thin-film lithium batteries and a substrate layer in order to simultaneously harvest energy, store energy, and carry structural load. When integrated into mass and volume critical applications, such as unmanned aircraft, multifunctional devices can provide great benefit over conventional harvesting systems. A critical aspect of integrating any energy harvesting system into a UAV, however, is the potential effect that the additional system has on the performance of the aircraft. Added mass and increased drag can significantly degrade the flight performance of an aircraft, therefore, it is important to ensure that the addition of an energy harvesting system does not adversely affect the efficiency of a host aircraft. In this work, a system level approach is taken to examine the effects of adding both solar and piezoelectric vibration harvesting to a UAV test platform. A formulation recently presented in the literature is applied to describe the changes to the flight endurance of a UAV based on the power available from added harvesters and the mass of the harvesters. Details of the derivation of the flight endurance model are reviewed and the formulation is applied to an EasyGlider remote control foam hobbyist airplane, which is selected as the test platform for this study. A theoretical study is performed in which the normalized change in flight endurance is calculated based on the addition of flexible thin-film solar panels to the upper surface of the wings, as well as the addition

  4. A Small Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Ant-Plane 4, for aeromagnetic survey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Funaki, M.; Tanabe, S.; Project, A.

    2007-05-01

    Autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are expected to use in Antarctica for geophysical research due to economy and safety operations. We have developed the technology of small UAVwith autonomous navigation referred to GPS and onboard magnetometer, meteorolgical devices and digital camera under the Ant-Plane project. The UAV focuses on operation for use in the summer season at coastal area in Antarctica; higher temperature than -15C under calm wind. In case of Ant-Plane 4, it can fly continuously more than 500 km, probably more than 1000 km, although the flight in Antarcitca has not succeeded The UAV of FRP is pusher type drone consisting of 2.6m span and 2.0m length with 2-cycles and 2-cylinder 86cc gasoline engine (7.2 HP) navigated. The maximum takeoff weight is 25kg including 1kg of payload. Cruising distance 500 km at speed of 130 km/h using 10 litter of fuel. The UAV is controlled by radio telemeter within 5km from a ground station and autonomous navigation referred to GPS latitude and longitude, pitot tube speed and barometer altitude. The magnetometer system consists of a 3-component magneto-resistant magnetometer (MR) sensor (Honeywell HMR2300), GPS and data logger. Three components of magnetic field, latitude, longitude, altitude, the number of satellite and time are recorded every second during 6 hours. The sensitivity of the magnetometer is 7 nT and we use a total magnetic field intensity for magnetic analysis due to unknown direction of heading of the plane. We succeeded in long distant flight to 500km with magnetometer by Ant-Plane 4 collaborated with Geoscience Australia, in March 2006. The survey was performed in the area 10kmx10km at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The magnetic data are obtained from 41 courses (250m in interval) of EW direction. The altitude of the flight was 900m from sea level and 500m from the runway. MR-magnetometer sensor was installed at the tip of a FRP pipe of 1m length, and the pipe was fixed to the head of the plane

  5. Near-vent measurements of volcanic gases and aerosols with multiple small unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pieri, D. C.; Diaz, J. A.; Bland, G.; Fladeland, M. M.; Schumann, J. M.

    2013-12-01

    Dynamic phenomena occurring on the earth's surface and in the atmosphere are almost always distributed over a volume or area that changes progressively over time (e.g., explosive eruption plumes, lava flows, floods, toxic materials releases, wildfires). 'Snapshot' views of such phenomena traditionally capture a small part of the area or volume of the event in successive time slices. Such time series are fundamentally limited in providing accurate boundary conditions for models of such processes, or even to create descriptions or observations at spatial scales relevant to the characteristic dimensions of the process. High spatial resolution (e.g., ~1-3m/pixel) imaging views of such spatially extended phenomena that capture the entire extent of the event are not usually possible with a single low altitude aircraft, for instance. Synoptic satellite and high altitude airborne views are often at spatial resolutions that an order of magnitude coarser. Airborne in situ sampling faces a similar problem in that point measurements are acquired along a flight line in a time-series. Source conditions changing at timescales shorter than an airborne sortie interval (typical for most dynamic phenomena) render such flight line observations incomplete. The ability to capture hi-spatial resolution, synchronous, full volume or area data over dynamically evolving (possibly hazardous) features (e.g., volcanic plumes, air pollution layers, oil slicks, wildfires) requires a distributed 2D or 3D mesh of observation platforms. Small (e.g., <25kg) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are an emerging technology that can provide distributed formations or networks of observation platforms that can be dynamically reconfigured to encompass areas or volumes of interest for imaging or other kinds of in situ observations (e.g., SO2 or CO2 sampling of volcanic gas emissions). Such data are crucial for the calibration and validation of remotely sensed concentration retrievals (e.g., from multi

  6. A methodology for the validated design space exploration of fuel cell powered unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moffitt, Blake Almy

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are the most dynamic growth sector of the aerospace industry today. The need to provide persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for military operations is driving the planned acquisition of over 5,000 UAVs over the next five years. The most pressing need is for quiet, small UAVs with endurance beyond what is capable with advanced batteries or small internal combustion propulsion systems. Fuel cell systems demonstrate high efficiency, high specific energy, low noise, low temperature operation, modularity, and rapid refuelability making them a promising enabler of the small, quiet, and persistent UAVs that military planners are seeking. Despite the perceived benefits, the actual near-term performance of fuel cell powered UAVs is unknown. Until the auto industry began spending billions of dollars in research, fuel cell systems were too heavy for useful flight applications. However, the last decade has seen rapid development with fuel cell gravimetric and volumetric power density nearly doubling every 2--3 years. As a result, a few design studies and demonstrator aircraft have appeared, but overall the design methodology and vehicles are still in their infancy. The design of fuel cell aircraft poses many challenges. Fuel cells differ fundamentally from combustion based propulsion in how they generate power and interact with other aircraft subsystems. As a result, traditional multidisciplinary analysis (MDA) codes are inappropriate. Building new MDAs is difficult since fuel cells are rapidly changing in design, and various competitive architectures exist for balance of plant, hydrogen storage, and all electric aircraft subsystems. In addition, fuel cell design and performance data is closely protected which makes validation difficult and uncertainty significant. Finally, low specific power and high volumes compared to traditional combustion based propulsion result in more highly constrained design spaces that are

  7. Development and integration of a solar powered unmanned aerial vehicle and a wireless sensor network to monitor greenhouse gases.

    PubMed

    Malaver, Alexander; Motta, Nunzio; Corke, Peter; Gonzalez, Felipe

    2015-01-01

    Measuring gases for environmental monitoring is a demanding task that requires long periods of observation and large numbers of sensors. Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) currently represent the best alternative to monitor large, remote, and difficult access areas, as these technologies have the possibility of carrying specialized gas sensing systems. This paper presents the development and integration of a WSN and an UAV powered by solar energy in order to enhance their functionality and broader their applications. A gas sensing system implementing nanostructured metal oxide (MOX) and non-dispersive infrared sensors was developed to measure concentrations of CH4 and CO2. Laboratory, bench and field testing results demonstrate the capability of UAV to capture, analyze and geo-locate a gas sample during flight operations. The field testing integrated ground sensor nodes and the UAV to measure CO2 concentration at ground and low aerial altitudes, simultaneously. Data collected during the mission was transmitted in real time to a central node for analysis and 3D mapping of the target gas. The results highlights the accomplishment of the first flight mission of a solar powered UAV equipped with a CO2 sensing system integrated with a WSN. The system provides an effective 3D monitoring and can be used in a wide range of environmental applications such as agriculture, bushfires, mining studies, zoology and botanical studies using a ubiquitous low cost technology. PMID:25679312

  8. Object-based spatiotemporal analysis of vine canopy vigor using an inexpensive unmanned aerial vehicle remote sensing system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mathews, Adam J.

    2014-01-01

    Remotely sensed imagery provides a rapid assessment of spatial variability in grapevine canopy vigor that correlates with crop performance. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide a low-cost image acquisition platform with high spatial and temporal resolutions. Using a UAV and digital cameras, aerial images of a Texas vineyard were captured at postflowering, veraison, and harvest. Imagery was processed to generate orthophotos in units of reflectance, which were then segmented to extract per-vine estimates of canopy area (planimetric extent) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)-based canopy density. Derived canopy area and density values were compared to the harvest variables of number of clusters, cluster size, and yield to explore correlations. Planimetrically derived canopy area yielded significant, positive relationships, whereas NDVI-based canopy density exhibited no significant relationships due to sensor-related radiometric inaccuracy. A vine performance index was calculated to map spatial variation in canopy vigor for the entire growing season. Future management zones were delineated using spatial grouping analysis.

  9. Development and Integration of a Solar Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and a Wireless Sensor Network to Monitor Greenhouse Gases

    PubMed Central

    Malaver, Alexander; Motta, Nunzio; Corke, Peter; Gonzalez, Felipe

    2015-01-01

    Measuring gases for environmental monitoring is a demanding task that requires long periods of observation and large numbers of sensors. Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) currently represent the best alternative to monitor large, remote, and difficult access areas, as these technologies have the possibility of carrying specialized gas sensing systems. This paper presents the development and integration of a WSN and an UAV powered by solar energy in order to enhance their functionality and broader their applications. A gas sensing system implementing nanostructured metal oxide (MOX) and non-dispersive infrared sensors was developed to measure concentrations of CH4 and CO2. Laboratory, bench and field testing results demonstrate the capability of UAV to capture, analyze and geo-locate a gas sample during flight operations. The field testing integrated ground sensor nodes and the UAV to measure CO2 concentration at ground and low aerial altitudes, simultaneously. Data collected during the mission was transmitted in real time to a central node for analysis and 3D mapping of the target gas. The results highlights the accomplishment of the first flight mission of a solar powered UAV equipped with a CO2 sensing system integrated with a WSN. The system provides an effective 3D monitoring and can be used in a wide range of environmental applications such as agriculture, bushfires, mining studies, zoology and botanical studies using a ubiquitous low cost technology. PMID:25679312

  10. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in pest management: Progress in the development of a UAV-deployed mating disruption system for Wisconsin cranberries

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hold significant promise for agriculture. Currently, UAVs are being employed for various reconnaissance purposes (“eyes in the sky”), but not as pest control delivery systems. Research in Wisconsin cranberries is taking UAVs in a new direction. The Steffan and Luck La...

  11. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in pest management: Progress in the development of a UAV-deployed mating disruption system for Wisconsin cranberries

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) represent a powerful new tool for agriculture. Currently, UAVs are used almost exclusively as crop reconnaissance devices (“eyes in the sky”), not as pest control delivery systems. Research in Wisconsin cranberries is taking UAVs in a new direction. The Steffan and Lu...

  12. Multi-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Cooperative Fault Detection Employing Differential Global Positioning (DGPS), Inertial and Vision Sensors.

    PubMed

    Heredia, Guillermo; Caballero, Fernando; Maza, Iván; Merino, Luis; Viguria, Antidio; Ollero, Aníbal

    2009-01-01

    This paper presents a method to increase the reliability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) sensor Fault Detection and Identification (FDI) in a multi-UAV context. Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and inertial sensors are used for sensor FDI in each UAV. The method uses additional position estimations that augment individual UAV FDI system. These additional estimations are obtained using images from the same planar scene taken from two different UAVs. Since accuracy and noise level of the estimation depends on several factors, dynamic replanning of the multi-UAV team can be used to obtain a better estimation in case of faults caused by slow growing errors of absolute position estimation that cannot be detected by using local FDI in the UAVs. Experimental results with data from two real UAVs are also presented. PMID:22400008

  13. Multi-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Cooperative Fault Detection Employing Differential Global Positioning (DGPS), Inertial and Vision Sensors

    PubMed Central

    Heredia, Guillermo; Caballero, Fernando; Maza, Iván; Merino, Luis; Viguria, Antidio; Ollero, Aníbal

    2009-01-01

    This paper presents a method to increase the reliability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) sensor Fault Detection and Identification (FDI) in a multi-UAV context. Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and inertial sensors are used for sensor FDI in each UAV. The method uses additional position estimations that augment individual UAV FDI system. These additional estimations are obtained using images from the same planar scene taken from two different UAVs. Since accuracy and noise level of the estimation depends on several factors, dynamic replanning of the multi-UAV team can be used to obtain a better estimation in case of faults caused by slow growing errors of absolute position estimation that cannot be detected by using local FDI in the UAVs. Experimental results with data from two real UAVs are also presented. PMID:22400008

  14. Nonlinear automatic landing control of unmanned aerial vehicles on moving platforms via a 3D laser radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hervas, Jaime Rubio; Reyhanoglu, Mahmut; Tang, Hui

    2014-12-01

    This paper presents a motion tracking and control system for automatically landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) on an oscillating platform using Laser Radar (LADAR) observations. The system itself is assumed to be mounted on a ship deck. A full nonlinear mathematical model is first introduced for the UAV. The ship motion is characterized by a Fourier transform based method which includes a realistic characterization of the sea waves. LADAR observation models are introduced and an algorithm to process those observations for yielding the relative state between the vessel and the UAV is presented, from which the UAV's state relative to an inertial frame can be obtained and used for feedback purposes. A sliding mode control algorithm is derived for tracking a landing trajectory defined by a set of desired waypoints. An extended Kalman filter (EKF) is proposed to account for process and observation noises in the design of a state estimator. The effectiveness of the control algorithm is illustrated through a simulation example.

  15. Modeling and Inverse Controller Design for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Based on the Self-Organizing Map

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cho, Jeongho; Principe, Jose C.; Erdogmus, Deniz; Motter, Mark A.

    2005-01-01

    The next generation of aircraft will have dynamics that vary considerably over the operating regime. A single controller will have difficulty to meet the design specifications. In this paper, a SOM-based local linear modeling scheme of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is developed to design a set of inverse controllers. The SOM selects the operating regime depending only on the embedded output space information and avoids normalization of the input data. Each local linear model is associated with a linear controller, which is easy to design. Switching of the controllers is done synchronously with the active local linear model that tracks the different operating conditions. The proposed multiple modeling and control strategy has been successfully tested in a simulator that models the LoFLYTE UAV.

  16. An Improved Artificial Bee Colony Algorithm Based on Balance-Evolution Strategy for Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Path Planning

    PubMed Central

    Gong, Li-gang; Yang, Wen-lun

    2014-01-01

    Unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) have been of great interest to military organizations throughout the world due to their outstanding capabilities to operate in dangerous or hazardous environments. UCAV path planning aims to obtain an optimal flight route with the threats and constraints in the combat field well considered. In this work, a novel artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm improved by a balance-evolution strategy (BES) is applied in this optimization scheme. In this new algorithm, convergence information during the iteration is fully utilized to manipulate the exploration/exploitation accuracy and to pursue a balance between local exploitation and global exploration capabilities. Simulation results confirm that BE-ABC algorithm is more competent for the UCAV path planning scheme than the conventional ABC algorithm and two other state-of-the-art modified ABC algorithms. PMID:24790555

  17. Modeling and inverse controller design for an unmanned aerial vehicle based on the self-organizing map.

    PubMed

    Cho, Jeongho; Principe, Jose C; Erdogmus, Deniz; Motter, Mark A

    2006-03-01

    The next generation of aircraft will have dynamics that vary considerably over the operating regime. A single controller will have difficulty to meet the design specifications. In this paper, a self-organizing map (SOM)-based local linear modeling scheme of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is developed to design a set of inverse controllers. The SOM selects the operating regime depending only on the embedded output space information and avoids normalization of the input data. Each local linear model is associated with a linear controller, which is easy to design. Switching of the controllers is done synchronously with the active local linear model that tracks the different operating conditions. The proposed multiple modeling and control strategy has been successfully tested in a simulator that models the LoFLYTE UAV. PMID:16566471

  18. Development and Implementation of a Hardware In-the-Loop Test Bed for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Control Algorithms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nyangweso, Emmanuel; Bole, Brian

    2014-01-01

    Successful prediction and management of battery life using prognostic algorithms through ground and flight tests is important for performance evaluation of electrical systems. This paper details the design of test beds suitable for replicating loading profiles that would be encountered in deployed electrical systems. The test bed data will be used to develop and validate prognostic algorithms for predicting battery discharge time and battery failure time. Online battery prognostic algorithms will enable health management strategies. The platform used for algorithm demonstration is the EDGE 540T electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The fully designed test beds developed and detailed in this paper can be used to conduct battery life tests by controlling current and recording voltage and temperature to develop a model that makes a prediction of end-of-charge and end-of-life of the system based on rapid state of health (SOH) assessment.

  19. An improved artificial bee colony algorithm based on balance-evolution strategy for unmanned combat aerial vehicle path planning.

    PubMed

    Li, Bai; Gong, Li-gang; Yang, Wen-lun

    2014-01-01

    Unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) have been of great interest to military organizations throughout the world due to their outstanding capabilities to operate in dangerous or hazardous environments. UCAV path planning aims to obtain an optimal flight route with the threats and constraints in the combat field well considered. In this work, a novel artificial bee colony (ABC) algorithm improved by a balance-evolution strategy (BES) is applied in this optimization scheme. In this new algorithm, convergence information during the iteration is fully utilized to manipulate the exploration/exploitation accuracy and to pursue a balance between local exploitation and global exploration capabilities. Simulation results confirm that BE-ABC algorithm is more competent for the UCAV path planning scheme than the conventional ABC algorithm and two other state-of-the-art modified ABC algorithms. PMID:24790555

  20. Nonlinear automatic landing control of unmanned aerial vehicles on moving platforms via a 3D laser radar

    SciTech Connect

    Hervas, Jaime Rubio; Tang, Hui; Reyhanoglu, Mahmut

    2014-12-10

    This paper presents a motion tracking and control system for automatically landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) on an oscillating platform using Laser Radar (LADAR) observations. The system itself is assumed to be mounted on a ship deck. A full nonlinear mathematical model is first introduced for the UAV. The ship motion is characterized by a Fourier transform based method which includes a realistic characterization of the sea waves. LADAR observation models are introduced and an algorithm to process those observations for yielding the relative state between the vessel and the UAV is presented, from which the UAV's state relative to an inertial frame can be obtained and used for feedback purposes. A sliding mode control algorithm is derived for tracking a landing trajectory defined by a set of desired waypoints. An extended Kalman filter (EKF) is proposed to account for process and observation noises in the design of a state estimator. The effectiveness of the control algorithm is illustrated through a simulation example.

  1. AVIATR—Aerial Vehicle for In-situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance. A Titan airplane mission concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnes, Jason W.; Lemke, Lawrence; Foch, Rick; McKay, Christopher P.; Beyer, Ross A.; Radebaugh, Jani; Atkinson, David H.; Lorenz, Ralph D.; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Rodriguez, Sebastien; Gundlach, Jay; Giannini, Francesco; Bain, Sean; Flasar, F. Michael; Hurford, Terry; Anderson, Carrie M.; Merrison, Jon; Ádámkovics, Máté; Kattenhorn, Simon A.; Mitchell, Jonathan; Burr, Devon M.; Colaprete, Anthony; Schaller, Emily; Friedson, A. James; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Coradini, Angioletta; Adriani, Alberto; Sayanagi, Kunio M.; Malaska, Michael J.; Morabito, David; Reh, Kim

    2012-03-01

    We describe a mission concept for a stand-alone Titan airplane mission: Aerial Vehicle for In-situ and Airborne Titan Reconnaissance (AVIATR). With independent delivery and direct-to-Earth communications, AVIATR could contribute to Titan science either alone or as part of a sustained Titan Exploration Program. As a focused mission, AVIATR as we have envisioned it would concentrate on the science that an airplane can do best: exploration of Titan's global diversity. We focus on surface geology/hydrology and lower-atmospheric structure and dynamics. With a carefully chosen set of seven instruments—2 near-IR cameras, 1 near-IR spectrometer, a RADAR altimeter, an atmospheric structure suite, a haze sensor, and a raindrop detector—AVIATR could accomplish a significant subset of the scientific objectives of the aerial element of flagship studies. The AVIATR spacecraft stack is composed of a Space Vehicle (SV) for cruise, an Entry Vehicle (EV) for entry and descent, and the Air Vehicle (AV) to fly in Titan's atmosphere. Using an Earth-Jupiter gravity assist trajectory delivers the spacecraft to Titan in 7.5 years, after which the AVIATR AV would operate for a 1-Earth-year nominal mission. We propose a novel `gravity battery' climb-then-glide strategy to store energy for optimal use during telecommunications sessions. We would optimize our science by using the flexibility of the airplane platform, generating context data and stereo pairs by flying and banking the AV instead of using gimbaled cameras. AVIATR would climb up to 14 km altitude and descend down to 3.5 km altitude once per Earth day, allowing for repeated atmospheric structure and wind measurements all over the globe. An initial Team-X run at JPL priced the AVIATR mission at FY10 715M based on the rules stipulated in the recent Discovery announcement of opportunity. Hence we find that a standalone Titan airplane mission can achieve important science building on Cassini's discoveries and can likely do so

  2. Flatness-Based Tracking Control and Nonlinear Observer for a Micro Aerial Quadcopter

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rivera, G.; Sawodny, O.

    2010-09-01

    This paper deals with the design of a nonlinear observer and a differential flat based path tracking controller for a mini aerial quadcopter. Taking into account that only the inertial coordinates and the yaw angle are available for measurements, it is shown, that the system is differentially flat, allowing a systematic design of a nonlinear tracking control in open and closed loop. A nonlinear observer is carried out to estimate the roll and pitch angle as well as all the linear and angular velocities. Finally the performance of the feedback controller and observer are illustrated in a computer simulation.

  3. Pheromone-based coordination strategy to static sensors on the ground and unmanned aerial vehicles carried sensors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pignaton de Freitas, Edison; Heimfarth, Tales; Pereira, Carlos Eduardo; Morado Ferreira, Armando; Rech Wagner, Flávio; Larsson, Tony

    2010-04-01

    A current trend that is gaining strength in the wireless sensor network area is the use of heterogeneous sensor nodes in one coordinated overall network, needed to fulfill the requirements of sophisticated emerging applications, such as area surveillance systems. One of the main concerns when developing such sensor networks is how to provide coordination among the heterogeneous nodes, in order to enable them to efficiently respond the user needs. This study presents an investigation of strategies to coordinate a set of static sensor nodes on the ground cooperating with wirelessly connected Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) carrying a variety of sensors, in order to provide efficient surveillance over an area of interest. The sensor nodes on the ground are set to issue alarms on the occurrence of a given event of interest, e.g. entrance of a non-authorized vehicle in the area, while the UAVs receive the issued alarms and have to decide which of them is the most suitable to handle the issued alarm. A bio-inspired coordination strategy based on the concept of pheromones is presented. As a complement of this strategy, a utility-based decision making approach is proposed.

  4. Multi-Objective Algorithm for Blood Supply via Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to the Wounded in an Emergency Situation.

    PubMed

    Wen, Tingxi; Zhang, Zhongnan; Wong, Kelvin K L

    2016-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been widely used in many industries. In the medical environment, especially in some emergency situations, UAVs play an important role such as the supply of medicines and blood with speed and efficiency. In this paper, we study the problem of multi-objective blood supply by UAVs in such emergency situations. This is a complex problem that includes maintenance of the supply blood's temperature model during transportation, the UAVs' scheduling and routes' planning in case of multiple sites requesting blood, and limited carrying capacity. Most importantly, we need to study the blood's temperature change due to the external environment, the heating agent (or refrigerant) and time factor during transportation, and propose an optimal method for calculating the mixing proportion of blood and appendage in different circumstances and delivery conditions. Then, by introducing the idea of transportation appendage into the traditional Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP), this new problem is proposed according to the factors of distance and weight. Algorithmically, we use the combination of decomposition-based multi-objective evolutionary algorithm and local search method to perform a series of experiments on the CVRP public dataset. By comparing our technique with the traditional ones, our algorithm can obtain better optimization results and time performance. PMID:27163361

  5. Multi-Objective Algorithm for Blood Supply via Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to the Wounded in an Emergency Situation

    PubMed Central

    Wen, Tingxi; Zhang, Zhongnan; Wong, Kelvin K. L.

    2016-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been widely used in many industries. In the medical environment, especially in some emergency situations, UAVs play an important role such as the supply of medicines and blood with speed and efficiency. In this paper, we study the problem of multi-objective blood supply by UAVs in such emergency situations. This is a complex problem that includes maintenance of the supply blood’s temperature model during transportation, the UAVs’ scheduling and routes’ planning in case of multiple sites requesting blood, and limited carrying capacity. Most importantly, we need to study the blood’s temperature change due to the external environment, the heating agent (or refrigerant) and time factor during transportation, and propose an optimal method for calculating the mixing proportion of blood and appendage in different circumstances and delivery conditions. Then, by introducing the idea of transportation appendage into the traditional Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem (CVRP), this new problem is proposed according to the factors of distance and weight. Algorithmically, we use the combination of decomposition-based multi-objective evolutionary algorithm and local search method to perform a series of experiments on the CVRP public dataset. By comparing our technique with the traditional ones, our algorithm can obtain better optimization results and time performance. PMID:27163361

  6. Large-aperture multiple quantum well modulating retroreflector for free-space optical data transfer on unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilbreath, G. Charmaine; Rabinovich, William S.; Meehan, Timothy J.; Vilcheck, Michael J.; Mahon, Rita; Burris, Ray; Ferraro, Mina; Sokolsky, Ilene; Vasquez, John A.; Bovais, Chris S.; Cochrell, Kerry; Goins, Kim C.; Barbehenn, Robin; Katzer, D. Scott; Ikossi-Anastasiou, Kiki; Montes, Marcos J.

    2001-07-01

    We describe progress in the development of a multiple quantum well modulating retroreflector, including a description of recent demonstrations of an infrared data link between a small rotary-wing unmanned airborne vehicle and a ground-based laser interrogator using the device designed and fabricated at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Modulating retroreflector systems couple an optical retroreflector, such as a corner cube, and an electro-optic shutter to allow two-way optical communications using a laser, telescope, and pointer-tracker on only one platform. The NRL modulating retroreflector uses a semiconductor-based multiple quantum well shutter capable of modulation rates greater than 10 Mbps, depending on link characteristics. The technology enables the use of near-infrared frequencies, which is well known to provide covert communications immune to frequency allocation problems. This specific device has the added advantage of being compact, lightweight, covert, and requires very low paper. Up to an order of magnitude in onboard power can be saved using a small array of these devices instead of the radio frequency equivalent. In the described demonstration, a Mbps optical link to an unmanned aerial vehicle in flight at a range of 100 to 200 feet is shown. Near real-time compressed video was also demonstrated at the Mbps level and is described.

  7. Close range ISR (PRISTA) and close quarters combat (CQC) with unmanned aerial systems (UAS)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maynell, Jon

    2010-04-01

    Ironically, the final frontiers for the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) are the closest spaces at hand. There is an urgent operational capability gap in the area of proximate reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition (PRISTA) as well as close quarters combats (CQC). Needs for extremely close range functionality in land, sea and urban theaters remain unfilled, largely due to the challenges presented by the maneuverability and silent operating floor required to address these missions. The evolution of small, nimble and inexpensive VTOL UAV assets holds much promise in terms of filling this gap. Just as UAVs have evolved from large manned aircraft, so have MAVs (Micro Aerial Vehicles) evolved from UAVs. As unmanned aviation evolves into aerial robotics, NAV (Nano Aerial Vehicle) research will become the next hotbed of unmanned aerial systems development as these systems continue to mature in response to the need to find robotic replacements for humans in PRISTA, CQC, and many other hazardous duties.

  8. Robust crack detection for unmanned aerial vehicles inspection in an a-contrario decision framework

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aldea, Emanuel; Le Hégarat-Mascle, Sylvie

    2015-11-01

    We are interested in the performance of currently available algorithms for the detection of cracks in the specific context of aerial inspection, which is characterized by image quality degradation. We focus on two widely used families of algorithms based on minimal cost path analysis and on image percolation, and we highlight their limitations in this context. Furthermore, we propose an improved strategy based on a-contrario modeling which is able to withstand significant motion blur due to the absence of various thresholds which are usually required in order to cope with varying crack appearances and with varying levels of degradation. The experiments are performed on real image datasets to which we applied complex blur, and the results show that the proposed strategy is effective, while other methods which perform well on good quality data experience significant difficulties with degraded images.

  9. High clearance phenotyping systems for season-long measurement of corn, sorghum and other row crops to complement unmanned aerial vehicle systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murray, Seth C.; Knox, Leighton; Hartley, Brandon; Méndez-Dorado, Mario A.; Richardson, Grant; Thomasson, J. Alex; Shi, Yeyin; Rajan, Nithya; Neely, Haly; Bagavathiannan, Muthukumar; Dong, Xuejun; Rooney, William L.

    2016-05-01

    The next generation of plant breeding progress requires accurately estimating plant growth and development parameters to be made over routine intervals within large field experiments. Hand measurements are laborious and time consuming and the most promising tools under development are sensors carried by ground vehicles or unmanned aerial vehicles, with each specific vehicle having unique limitations. Previously available ground vehicles have primarily been restricted to monitoring shorter crops or early growth in corn and sorghum, since plants taller than a meter could be damaged by a tractor or spray rig passing over them. Here we have designed two and already constructed one of these self-propelled ground vehicles with adjustable heights that can clear mature corn and sorghum without damage (over three meters of clearance), which will work for shorter row crops as well. In addition to regular RGB image capture, sensor suites are incorporated to estimate plant height, vegetation indices, canopy temperature and photosynthetically active solar radiation, all referenced using RTK GPS to individual plots. These ground vehicles will be useful to validate data collected from unmanned aerial vehicles and support hand measurements taken on plots.

  10. Possibilities for Using LIDAR and Photogrammetric Data Obtained with AN Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Levee Monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakuła, K.; Ostrowski, W.; Szender, M.; Plutecki, W.; Salach, A.; Górski, K.

    2016-06-01

    This paper presents the possibilities for using an unmanned aerial system for evaluation of the condition of levees. The unmanned aerial system is equipped with two types of sensor. One is an ultra-light laser scanner, integrated with a GNSS receiver and an INS system; the other sensor is a digital camera that acquires data with stereoscopic coverage. Sensors have been mounted on the multirotor, unmanned platform the Hawk Moth, constructed by MSP company. LiDAR data and images of levees the length of several hundred metres were acquired during testing of the platform. Flights were performed in several variants. Control points measured with the use of the GNSS technique were considered as reference data. The obtained results are presented in this paper; the methodology of processing the acquired LiDAR data, which increase in accuracy when low accuracy of the navigation systems occurs as a result of systematic errors, is also discussed. The Iterative Closest Point (ICP) algorithm, as well as measurements of control points, were used to georeference the LiDAR data. Final accuracy in the order of centimetres was obtained for generation of the digital terrain model. The final products of the proposed UAV data processing are digital elevation models, an orthophotomap and colour point clouds. The authors conclude that such a platform offers wide possibilities for low-budget flights to deliver the data, which may compete with typical direct surveying measurements performed during monitoring of such objects. However, the biggest advantage is the density and continuity of data, which allows for detection of changes in objects being monitored.

  11. A guidance and control algorithm for scent tracking micro-robotic vehicle swarms

    SciTech Connect

    Dohner, J.L.

    1998-03-01

    Cooperative micro-robotic scent tracking vehicles are designed to collectively sniff out locations of high scent concentrations in unknown, geometrically complex environments. These vehicles are programmed with guidance and control algorithms that allow inter cooperation among vehicles. In this paper a cooperative guidance and control algorithm for scent tracking micro-robotic vehicles is presented. This algorithm is comprised of a sensory compensation sub-algorithm using point source cancellation, a guidance sub-algorithm using gradient descent tracking, and a control sub-algorithm using proportional feedback. The concepts of social rank and point source cancellation are new concepts introduced within. Simulation results for cooperative vehicles swarms are given. Limitations are discussed.

  12. Evaluation of unmanned aerial vehicle shape, flight path and camera type for waterfowl surveys: disturbance effects and species recognition.

    PubMed

    McEvoy, John F; Hall, Graham P; McDonald, Paul G

    2016-01-01

    The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for ecological research has grown rapidly in recent years, but few studies have assessed the disturbance impacts of these tools on focal subjects, particularly when observing easily disturbed species such as waterfowl. In this study we assessed the level of disturbance that a range of UAV shapes and sizes had on free-living, non-breeding waterfowl surveyed in two sites in eastern Australia between March and May 2015, as well as the capability of airborne digital imaging systems to provide adequate resolution for unambiguous species identification of these taxa. We found little or no obvious disturbance effects on wild, mixed-species flocks of waterfowl when UAVs were flown at least 60m above the water level (fixed wing models) or 40m above individuals (multirotor models). Disturbance in the form of swimming away from the UAV through to leaving the water surface and flying away from the UAV was visible at lower altitudes and when fixed-wing UAVs either approached subjects directly or rapidly changed altitude and/or direction near animals. Using tangential approach flight paths that did not cause disturbance, commercially available onboard optical equipment was able to capture images of sufficient quality to identify waterfowl and even much smaller taxa such as swallows. Our results show that with proper planning of take-off and landing sites, flight paths and careful UAV model selection, UAVs can provide an excellent tool for accurately surveying wild waterfowl populations and provide archival data with fewer logistical issues than traditional methods such as manned aerial surveys. PMID:27020132

  13. Evaluation of unmanned aerial vehicle shape, flight path and camera type for waterfowl surveys: disturbance effects and species recognition

    PubMed Central

    Hall, Graham P.; McDonald, Paul G.

    2016-01-01

    The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for ecological research has grown rapidly in recent years, but few studies have assessed the disturbance impacts of these tools on focal subjects, particularly when observing easily disturbed species such as waterfowl. In this study we assessed the level of disturbance that a range of UAV shapes and sizes had on free-living, non-breeding waterfowl surveyed in two sites in eastern Australia between March and May 2015, as well as the capability of airborne digital imaging systems to provide adequate resolution for unambiguous species identification of these taxa. We found little or no obvious disturbance effects on wild, mixed-species flocks of waterfowl when UAVs were flown at least 60m above the water level (fixed wing models) or 40m above individuals (multirotor models). Disturbance in the form of swimming away from the UAV through to leaving the water surface and flying away from the UAV was visible at lower altitudes and when fixed-wing UAVs either approached subjects directly or rapidly changed altitude and/or direction near animals. Using tangential approach flight paths that did not cause disturbance, commercially available onboard optical equipment was able to capture images of sufficient quality to identify waterfowl and even much smaller taxa such as swallows. Our results show that with proper planning of take-off and landing sites, flight paths and careful UAV model selection, UAVs can provide an excellent tool for accurately surveying wild waterfowl populations and provide archival data with fewer logistical issues than traditional methods such as manned aerial surveys. PMID:27020132

  14. Neural network control of a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system for a small unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harmon, Frederick G.

    2005-11-01

    Parallel hybrid-electric propulsion systems would be beneficial for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used for military, homeland security, and disaster-monitoring missions. The benefits, due to the hybrid and electric-only modes, include increased time-on-station and greater range as compared to electric-powered UAVs and stealth modes not available with gasoline-powered UAVs. This dissertation contributes to the research fields of small unmanned aerial vehicles, hybrid-electric propulsion system control, and intelligent control. A conceptual design of a small UAV with a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system is provided. The UAV is intended for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. A conceptual design reveals the trade-offs that must be considered to take advantage of the hybrid-electric propulsion system. The resulting hybrid-electric propulsion system is a two-point design that includes an engine primarily sized for cruise speed and an electric motor and battery pack that are primarily sized for a slower endurance speed. The electric motor provides additional power for take-off, climbing, and acceleration and also serves as a generator during charge-sustaining operation or regeneration. The intelligent control of the hybrid-electric propulsion system is based on an instantaneous optimization algorithm that generates a hyper-plane from the nonlinear efficiency maps for the internal combustion engine, electric motor, and lithium-ion battery pack. The hyper-plane incorporates charge-depletion and charge-sustaining strategies. The optimization algorithm is flexible and allows the operator/user to assign relative importance between the use of gasoline, electricity, and recharging depending on the intended mission. A MATLAB/Simulink model was developed to test the control algorithms. The Cerebellar Model Arithmetic Computer (CMAC) associative memory neural network is applied to the control of the UAVs parallel hybrid

  15. Evaluation of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery to model vegetation heights in Hulun Buir grassland ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, D.; Xin, X.; Li, Z.

    2015-12-01

    Vertical vegetation structure in grassland ecosystem is needed to assess grassland health and monitor available forage for livestock and wildlife habitat. Traditional ground-based field methods for measuring vegetation heights are time consuming. Most emerging airborne remote sensing techniques capable of measuring surface and vegetation height (e.g., LIDAR) are too expensive to apply at broad scales. Aerial or spaceborne stereo imagery has the cost advantage for mapping height of tall vegetation, such as forest. However, the accuracy and uncertainty of using stereo imagery for modeling heights of short vegetation, such as grass (generally lower than 50cm) needs to be investigated. In this study, 2.5-cm resolution UAV stereo imagery are used to model vegetation heights in Hulun Buir grassland ecosystem. Strong correlations were observed (r > 0.9) between vegetation heights derived from UAV stereo imagery and those field-measured ones at individual and plot level. However, vegetation heights tended to be underestimated in the imagery especially for those areas with high vegetation coverage. The strong correlations between field-collected vegetation heights and metrics derived from UAV stereo imagery suggest that UAV stereo imagery can be used to estimate short vegetation heights such as those in grassland ecosystem. Future work will be needed to verify the extensibility of the methods to other sites and vegetation types.

  16. Lightweight aerial vehicles for monitoring, assessment and mapping of radiation anomalies.

    PubMed

    MacFarlane, J W; Payton, O D; Keatley, A C; Scott, G P T; Pullin, H; Crane, R A; Smilion, M; Popescu, I; Curlea, V; Scott, T B

    2014-10-01

    The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP) incident released a significant mass of radioactive material into the atmosphere. An estimated 22% of this material fell out over land following the incident. Immediately following the disaster, there was a severe lack of information not only pertaining to the identity of the radioactive material released, but also its distribution as fallout in the surrounding regions. Indeed, emergency aid groups including the UN did not have sufficient location specific radiation data to accurately assign exclusion and evacuation zones surrounding the plant in the days and weeks following the incident. A newly developed instrument to provide rapid and high spatial resolution assessment of radionuclide contamination in the environment is presented. The device consists of a low cost, lightweight, unmanned aerial platform with a microcontroller and integrated gamma spectrometer, GPS and LIDAR. We demonstrate that with this instrument it is possible to rapidly and remotely detect ground-based radiation anomalies with a high spatial resolution (<1 m). Critically, as the device is remotely operated, the user is removed from any unnecessary or unforeseen exposure to elevated levels of radiation. PMID:24949582

  17. Model-Based Building Detection from Low-Cost Optical Sensors Onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karantzalos, K.; Koutsourakis, P.; Kalisperakis, I.; Grammatikopoulos, L.

    2015-08-01

    The automated and cost-effective building detection in ultra high spatial resolution is of major importance for various engineering and smart city applications. To this end, in this paper, a model-based building detection technique has been developed able to extract and reconstruct buildings from UAV aerial imagery and low-cost imaging sensors. In particular, the developed approach through advanced structure from motion, bundle adjustment and dense image matching computes a DSM and a true orthomosaic from the numerous GoPro images which are characterised by important geometric distortions and fish-eye effect. An unsupervised multi-region, graphcut segmentation and a rule-based classification is responsible for delivering the initial multi-class classification map. The DTM is then calculated based on inpaininting and mathematical morphology process. A data fusion process between the detected building from the DSM/DTM and the classification map feeds a grammar-based building reconstruction and scene building are extracted and reconstructed. Preliminary experimental results appear quite promising with the quantitative evaluation indicating detection rates at object level of 88% regarding the correctness and above 75% regarding the detection completeness.

  18. Micro air vehicle motion tracking and aerodynamic modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uhlig, Daniel V.

    Aerodynamic performance of small-scale fixed-wing flight is not well understood, and flight data are needed to gain a better understanding of the aerodynamics of micro air vehicles (MAVs) flying at Reynolds numbers between 10,000 and 30,000. Experimental studies have shown the aerodynamic effects of low Reynolds number flow on wings and airfoils, but the amount of work that has been conducted is not extensive and mostly limited to tests in wind and water tunnels. In addition to wind and water tunnel testing, flight characteristics of aircraft can be gathered through flight testing. The small size and low weight of MAVs prevent the use of conventional on-board instrumentation systems, but motion tracking systems that use off-board triangulation can capture flight trajectories (position and attitude) of MAVs with minimal onboard instrumentation. Because captured motion trajectories include minute noise that depends on the aircraft size, the trajectory results were verified in this work using repeatability tests. From the captured glide trajectories, the aerodynamic characteristics of five unpowered aircraft were determined. Test results for the five MAVs showed the forces and moments acting on the aircraft throughout the test flights. In addition, the airspeed, angle of attack, and sideslip angle were also determined from the trajectories. Results for low angles of attack (less than approximately 20 deg) showed the lift, drag, and moment coefficients during nominal gliding flight. For the lift curve, the results showed a linear curve until stall that was generally less than finite wing predictions. The drag curve was well described by a polar. The moment coefficients during the gliding flights were used to determine longitudinal and lateral stability derivatives. The neutral point, weather-vane stability and the dihedral effect showed some variation with different trim speeds (different angles of attack). In the gliding flights, the aerodynamic characteristics

  19. Mission specification and control for unmanned aerial and ground vehicles for indoor target discovery and tracking

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ulam, Patrick D.; Kira, Zsolt; Arkin, Ronald C.; Collins, Thomas R.

    2010-04-01

    This paper describes ongoing research by Georgia Tech into the challenges of tasking and controlling heterogonous teams of unmanned vehicles in mixed indoor/outdoor reconnaissance scenarios. We outline the tools and techniques necessary for an operator to specify, execute, and monitor such missions. The mission specification framework used for the purposes of intelligence gathering during mission execution are first demonstrated in simulations involving a team of a single autonomous rotorcraft and three ground-based robotic platforms. Preliminary results including robotic hardware in the loop are also provided.

  20. Aerial vehicle with paint for detection of radiological and chemical warfare agents

    DOEpatents

    Farmer, Joseph C.; Brunk, James L.; Day, S. Daniel

    2013-04-02

    A paint that warns of radiological or chemical substances comprising a paint operatively connected to the surface, an indicator material carried by the paint that provides an indication of the radiological or chemical substances, and a thermo-activation material carried by the paint. In one embodiment, a method of warning of radiological or chemical substances comprising the steps of painting a surface with an indicator material, and monitoring the surface for indications of the radiological or chemical substances. In another embodiment, a paint is operatively connected to a vehicle and an indicator material is carried by the paint that provides an indication of the radiological or chemical substances.

  1. Long-term monitoring of a large landslide by using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindner, Gerald; Schraml, Klaus; Mansberger, Reinfried; Hübl, Johannes

    2015-04-01

    Currently UAVs become more and more important in various scientific areas, including forestry, precision farming, archaeology and hydrology. Using these drones in natural hazards research enables a completely new level of data acquisition being flexible of site, invariant in time, cost-efficient and enabling arbitrary spatial resolution. In this study, a rotary-wing Mini-UAV carrying a DSLR camera was used to acquire time series of overlapping aerial images. These photographs were taken as input to extract Digital Surface Models (DSM) as well as orthophotos in the area of interest. The "Pechgraben" area in Upper Austria has a catchment area of approximately 2 km². Geology is mainly dominated by limestone and sandstone. Caused by heavy rainfalls in the late spring of 2013, an area of about 70 ha began to move towards the village in the valley. In addition to the urgent measures, the slow-moving landslide was monitored approximately every month over a time period of more than 18 months. A detailed documentation of the change process was the result. Moving velocities and height differences were quantified and validated using a dense network of Ground Control Points (GCP). For further analysis, 14 image flights with a total amount of 10.000 photographs were performed to create multi-temporal geodata in in sub-decimeter-resolution for two depicted areas of the landslide. Using a UAV for this application proved to be an excellent choice, as it allows short repetition times, low flying heights and high spatial resolution. Furthermore, the UAV acts almost weather independently as well as highly autonomously. High-quality results can be expected within a few hours after the photo flight. The UAV system performs very well in an alpine environment. Time series of the assessed geodata detect changes in topography and provide a long-term documentation of the measures taken in order to stop the landslide and to prevent infrastructure from damage.

  2. Modeling and analysis of an articulated winged micro air vehicle for gust mitigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oduyela, Adetunji Y.

    Articulated micro air vehicles are a class of micro air vehicles comprised of a main center body attached to outer wings on both sides. As in the case of a single rigid micro air vehicle, the center body and the attached bodies in the articulated case are all responsible for the generation of aerodynamic forces and moments during flight resulting in a multibody system. While many approaches have been taken in the literature to model the system of equations resulting from such a complicated multibody system, this dissertation presents an approach based on a Newton-Euler multibody dynamics formulation where the multiple bodies are attached together with suitable joints. The number and type of joints determines the level of articulation and total degree of freedom for the entire system. Unlike most articulated air vehicle model formulations available in the literature, the final model formulation presented in this work provides joint force and moment data acting on the articulated MAV during flight. This feature allows such information to be available during the vehicle design and development stage where appropriate spring and dampers for the system are selected based on mission requirements. Experimental validation of the proposed mathematical model using experimental flight test data obtained from UAHuntsville's Autonomous Tracking and Optical Measurements laboratory allowed the comparison of the flight test results and model simulations. Analytical investigation of the gust alleviation properties of the articulated 8 degree-of-freedom micro air vehicle model was carried out using simulations with varying crosswind gust magnitudes and shows that the passive articulation in micro air vehicles increases their robustness to gusts when suitable joint parameters are selected.

  3. Performance Characterization of a Lithium-ion Gel Polymer Battery Power Supply System for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reid, Concha M.; Manzo, Michelle A.; Logan, Michael J.

    2004-01-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are currently under development for NASA missions, earth sciences, aeronautics, the military, and commercial applications. The design of an all electric power and propulsion system for small UAVs was the focus of a detailed study. Currently, many of these small vehicles are powered by primary (nonrechargeable) lithium-based batteries. While this type of battery is capable of satisfying some of the mission needs, a secondary (rechargeable) battery power supply system that can provide the same functionality as the current system at the same or lower system mass and volume is desired. A study of commercially available secondary battery cell technologies that could provide the desired performance characteristics was performed. Due to the strict mass limitations and wide operating temperature requirements of small UAVs, the only viable cell chemistries were determined to be lithium-ion liquid electrolyte systems and lithium-ion gel polymer electrolyte systems. Two lithium-ion gel polymer cell designs were selected as candidates and were tested using potential load profiles for UAV applications. Because lithium primary batteries have a higher specific energy and energy density, for the same mass and volume allocation, the secondary batteries resulted in shorter flight times than the primary batteries typically provide. When the batteries were operated at lower ambient temperatures (0 to -20 C), flight times were even further reduced. Despite the reduced flight times demonstrated, for certain UAV applications, the secondary batteries operated within the acceptable range of flight times at room temperature and above. The results of this testing indicate that a secondary battery power supply system can provide some benefits over the primary battery power supply system. A UAV can be operated for hundreds of flights using a secondary battery power supply system that provides the combined benefits of rechargeability and an inherently safer

  4. Atmospheric Mining in the Outer Solar System: Aerial Vehicle Mission and Design Issues

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palaszewski, Bryan

    2015-01-01

    Atmospheric mining in the outer solar system has been investigated as a means of fuel production for high energy propulsion and power. Fusion fuels such as Helium 3 (3He) and deuterium can be wrested from the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune and either returned to Earth or used in-situ for energy production. Helium 3 and deuterium were the primary gases of interest with hydrogen being the primary propellant for nuclear thermal solid core and gas core rocket-based atmospheric flight. A series of analyses were undertaken to investigate resource capturing aspects of atmospheric mining in the outer solar system. This included the gas capturing rate, storage options, and different methods of direct use of the captured gases. While capturing 3He, large amounts of hydrogen and 4He are produced. With these two additional gases, the potential for fueling small and large fleets of additional exploration and exploitation vehicles exists. The mining aerospacecraft (ASC) could fly through the outer planet atmospheres, for global weather observations, localized storm or other disturbance investigations, wind speed measurements, polar observations, etc. Analyses of orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs), landers, and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) mining factories are included. Preliminary observations are presented on near-optimal selections of moon base orbital locations, OTV power levels, and OTV and lander rendezvous points.

  5. Quantifying Efficacy and Limits of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Technology for Weed Seedling Detection as Affected by Sensor Resolution

    PubMed Central

    Peña, José M.; Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; Serrano-Pérez, Angélica; de Castro, Ana I.; López-Granados, Francisca

    2015-01-01

    In order to optimize the application of herbicides in weed-crop systems, accurate and timely weed maps of the crop-field are required. In this context, this investigation quantified the efficacy and limitations of remote images collected with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for early detection of weed seedlings. The ability to discriminate weeds was significantly affected by the imagery spectral (type of camera), spatial (flight altitude) and temporal (the date of the study) resolutions. The colour-infrared images captured at 40 m and 50 days after sowing (date 2), when plants had 5–6 true leaves, had the highest weed detection accuracy (up to 91%). At this flight altitude, the images captured before date 2 had slightly better results than the images captured later. However, this trend changed in the visible-light images captured at 60 m and higher, which had notably better results on date 3 (57 days after sowing) because of the larger size of the weed plants. Our results showed the requirements on spectral and spatial resolutions needed to generate a suitable weed map early in the growing season, as well as the best moment for the UAV image acquisition, with the ultimate objective of applying site-specific weed management operations. PMID:25756867

  6. Optical design of high resolution and large format CCD airborne remote sensing camera on unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qian, Yixian; Cheng, Xiaowei; Shao, Jie

    2010-11-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicle remote sensing (UAVRS) is lower in cost, flexible on task arrangement and automatic and intelligent in application, it has been used widely for mapping, surveillance, reconnaissance and city planning. Airborne remote sensing missions require sensors with both high resolution and large fields of view, large format CCD digital airborne imaging systems are now a reality. A refractive system was designed to meet the requirements with the help of code V software, It has a focal length of 150mm, F number of 5.6, waveband of 0.45~0.7um, and field of view reaches 20°. It is shown that the value of modulation transfer function is higher than 0.5 at 55lp/mm, distortion is less than 0.1%, image quality reaches the diffraction limit. The system with large format CCD and wide field can satisfy the demand of the wide ground overlay area and high resolution. The optical system with simpler structure, smaller size and lighter weight, can be used in airborne remote sensing.

  7. Land Surface Reflectance Retrieval from Hyperspectral Data Collected by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle over the Baotou Test Site

    PubMed Central

    Duan, Si-Bo; Li, Zhao-Liang; Tang, Bo-Hui; Wu, Hua; Ma, Lingling; Zhao, Enyu; Li, Chuanrong

    2013-01-01

    To evaluate the in-flight performance of a new hyperspectral sensor onboard an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV-HYPER), a comprehensive field campaign was conducted over the Baotou test site in China on 3 September 2011. Several portable reference reflectance targets were deployed across the test site. The radiometric performance of the UAV-HYPER sensor was assessed in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the calibration accuracy. The SNR of the different bands of the UAV-HYPER sensor was estimated to be between approximately 5 and 120 over the homogeneous targets, and the linear response of the apparent reflectance ranged from approximately 0.05 to 0.45. The uniform and non-uniform Lambertian land surface reflectance was retrieved and validated using in situ measurements, with root mean square error (RMSE) of approximately 0.01–0.07 and relative RMSE of approximately 5%–12%. There were small discrepancies between the retrieved uniform and non-uniform Lambertian land surface reflectance over the homogeneous targets and under low aerosol optical depth (AOD) conditions (AOD = 0.18). However, these discrepancies must be taken into account when adjacent pixels had large land surface reflectance contrast and under high AOD conditions (e.g. AOD = 1.0). PMID:23785513

  8. Land surface reflectance retrieval from hyperspectral data collected by an unmanned aerial vehicle over the Baotou test site.

    PubMed

    Duan, Si-Bo; Li, Zhao-Liang; Tang, Bo-Hui; Wu, Hua; Ma, Lingling; Zhao, Enyu; Li, Chuanrong

    2013-01-01

    To evaluate the in-flight performance of a new hyperspectral sensor onboard an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV-HYPER), a comprehensive field campaign was conducted over the Baotou test site in China on 3 September 2011. Several portable reference reflectance targets were deployed across the test site. The radiometric performance of the UAV-HYPER sensor was assessed in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the calibration accuracy. The SNR of the different bands of the UAV-HYPER sensor was estimated to be between approximately 5 and 120 over the homogeneous targets, and the linear response of the apparent reflectance ranged from approximately 0.05 to 0.45. The uniform and non-uniform Lambertian land surface reflectance was retrieved and validated using in situ measurements, with root mean square error (RMSE) of approximately 0.01-0.07 and relative RMSE of approximately 5%-12%. There were small discrepancies between the retrieved uniform and non-uniform Lambertian land surface reflectance over the homogeneous targets and under low aerosol optical depth (AOD) conditions (AOD = 0.18). However, these discrepancies must be taken into account when adjacent pixels had large land surface reflectance contrast and under high AOD conditions (e.g. AOD = 1.0). PMID:23785513

  9. Nonlinear wavelet compression of ion mobility spectra from ion mobility spectrometers mounted in an unmanned aerial vehicle.

    PubMed

    Cao, Libo; Harrington, Peter de B; Harden, Charles S; McHugh, Vincent M; Thomas, Martin A

    2004-02-15

    Linear and nonlinear wavelet compression of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) data are compared and evaluated. IMS provides low detection limits and rapid response for many compounds. Nonlinear wavelet compression of ion mobility spectra reduced the data to 4-5% of its original size, while eliminating artifacts in the reconstructed spectra that occur with linear compression, and the root-mean-square reconstruction error was 0.17-0.20% of the maximum intensity of the uncompressed spectra. Furthermore, nonlinear wavelet compression precisely preserves the peak location (i.e., drift time). Small variations in peak location may occur in the reconstructed spectra that were linearly compressed. A method was developed and evaluated for optimizing the compression. The compression method was evaluated with in-flight data recorded from ion mobility spectrometers mounted in an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Plumes of dimethyl methylphosphonate were disseminated for interrogation by the UAV-mounted IMS system. The daublet 8 wavelet filter exhibited the best performance for these evaluations. PMID:14961740

  10. A guided-wave system for monitoring the wing skin-to-spar bond in unmanned aerial vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matt, Howard; Bartoli, Ivan; Lanza di Scalea, Francesco; Marzani, Alessandro; Coccia, Stefano; Oliver, Joseph; Kosmatka, John; Rizzo, Piervincenzo; Restivo, Gaetano

    2005-05-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are being increasingly used in military as well as civil applications. A critical part of the structure is the adhesive bond between the wing skin and the supporting spar. If not detected early, bond defects originating during manufacturing or in service flight can lead to inefficient flight performance and eventual global failure. This paper will present results from a bond inspection system based on attached piezoelectric disks probing the skin-to-spar bondline with ultrasonic guided waves in the hundreds of kilohertz range. The test components were CFRP composite panels of two different fiber layups bonded to a CFRP composite tube using epoxy adhesive. Three types of bond conditions were simulated, namely regions of poor cohesive strength, regions with localized disbonds and well bonded regions. The root mean square and variance of the received time-domain signals and their discrete wavelet decompositions were computed for the dominant modes propagating through the various bond regions in two different inspection configurations. Semi-analytical finite element analysis of the bonded multilayer joint was also carried out to identify and predict the sensitivity of the predominant carrier modes to the different bond defects. Emphasis of this research is based upon designing a built-in system for monitoring the structural integrity of bonded joints in UAVs and other aerospace structures.

  11. Monitoring the invasion of Spartina alterniflora using very high resolution unmanned aerial vehicle imagery in Beihai, Guangxi (China).

    PubMed

    Wan, Huawei; Wang, Qiao; Jiang, Dong; Fu, Jingying; Yang, Yipeng; Liu, Xiaoman

    2014-01-01

    Spartina alterniflora was introduced to Beihai, Guangxi (China), for ecological engineering purposes in 1979. However, the exceptional adaptability and reproductive ability of this species have led to its extensive dispersal into other habitats, where it has had a negative impact on native species and threatens the local mangrove and mudflat ecosystems. To obtain the distribution and spread of Spartina alterniflora, we collected HJ-1 CCD imagery from 2009 and 2011 and very high resolution (VHR) imagery from the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The invasion area of Spartina alterniflora was 357.2 ha in 2011, which increased by 19.07% compared with the area in 2009. A field survey was conducted for verification and the total accuracy was 94.0%. The results of this paper show that VHR imagery can provide details on distribution, progress, and early detection of Spartina alterniflora invasion. OBIA, object based image analysis for remote sensing (RS) detection method, can enable control measures to be more effective, accurate, and less expensive than a field survey of the invasive population. PMID:24892066

  12. Quantifying efficacy and limits of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology for weed seedling detection as affected by sensor resolution.

    PubMed

    Peña, José M; Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; Serrano-Pérez, Angélica; de Castro, Ana I; López-Granados, Francisca

    2015-01-01

    In order to optimize the application of herbicides in weed-crop systems, accurate and timely weed maps of the crop-field are required. In this context, this investigation quantified the efficacy and limitations of remote images collected with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for early detection of weed seedlings. The ability to discriminate weeds was significantly affected by the imagery spectral (type of camera), spatial (flight altitude) and temporal (the date of the study) resolutions. The colour-infrared images captured at 40 m and 50 days after sowing (date 2), when plants had 5-6 true leaves, had the highest weed detection accuracy (up to 91%). At this flight altitude, the images captured before date 2 had slightly better results than the images captured later. However, this trend changed in the visible-light images captured at 60 m and higher, which had notably better results on date 3 (57 days after sowing) because of the larger size of the weed plants. Our results showed the requirements on spectral and spatial resolutions needed to generate a suitable weed map early in the growing season, as well as the best moment for the UAV image acquisition, with the ultimate objective of applying site-specific weed management operations. PMID:25756867

  13. High-Throughput 3-D Monitoring of Agricultural-Tree Plantations with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Technology.

    PubMed

    Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; López-Granados, Francisca; Serrano, Nicolás; Arquero, Octavio; Peña, José M

    2015-01-01

    The geometric features of agricultural trees such as canopy area, tree height and crown volume provide useful information about plantation status and crop production. However, these variables are mostly estimated after a time-consuming and hard field work and applying equations that treat the trees as geometric solids, which produce inconsistent results. As an alternative, this work presents an innovative procedure for computing the 3-dimensional geometric features of individual trees and tree-rows by applying two consecutive phases: 1) generation of Digital Surface Models with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology and 2) use of object-based image analysis techniques. Our UAV-based procedure produced successful results both in single-tree and in tree-row plantations, reporting up to 97% accuracy on area quantification and minimal deviations compared to in-field estimations of tree heights and crown volumes. The maps generated could be used to understand the linkages between tree grown and field-related factors or to optimize crop management operations in the context of precision agriculture with relevant agro-environmental implications. PMID:26107174

  14. A Space-Time Network-Based Modeling Framework for Dynamic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Routing in Traffic Incident Monitoring Applications

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Jisheng; Jia, Limin; Niu, Shuyun; Zhang, Fan; Tong, Lu; Zhou, Xuesong

    2015-01-01

    It is essential for transportation management centers to equip and manage a network of fixed and mobile sensors in order to quickly detect traffic incidents and further monitor the related impact areas, especially for high-impact accidents with dramatic traffic congestion propagation. As emerging small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) start to have a more flexible regulation environment, it is critically important to fully explore the potential for of using UAVs for monitoring recurring and non-recurring traffic conditions and special events on transportation networks. This paper presents a space-time network- based modeling framework for integrated fixed and mobile sensor networks, in order to provide a rapid and systematic road traffic monitoring mechanism. By constructing a discretized space-time network to characterize not only the speed for UAVs but also the time-sensitive impact areas of traffic congestion, we formulate the problem as a linear integer programming model to minimize the detection delay cost and operational cost, subject to feasible flying route constraints. A Lagrangian relaxation solution framework is developed to decompose the original complex problem into a series of computationally efficient time-dependent and least cost path finding sub-problems. Several examples are used to demonstrate the results of proposed models in UAVs’ route planning for small and medium-scale networks. PMID:26076404

  15. High-Throughput 3-D Monitoring of Agricultural-Tree Plantations with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Technology

    PubMed Central

    Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; López-Granados, Francisca; Serrano, Nicolás; Arquero, Octavio; Peña, José M.

    2015-01-01

    The geometric features of agricultural trees such as canopy area, tree height and crown volume provide useful information about plantation status and crop production. However, these variables are mostly estimated after a time-consuming and hard field work and applying equations that treat the trees as geometric solids, which produce inconsistent results. As an alternative, this work presents an innovative procedure for computing the 3-dimensional geometric features of individual trees and tree-rows by applying two consecutive phases: 1) generation of Digital Surface Models with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology and 2) use of object-based image analysis techniques. Our UAV-based procedure produced successful results both in single-tree and in tree-row plantations, reporting up to 97% accuracy on area quantification and minimal deviations compared to in-field estimations of tree heights and crown volumes. The maps generated could be used to understand the linkages between tree grown and field-related factors or to optimize crop management operations in the context of precision agriculture with relevant agro-environmental implications. PMID:26107174

  16. Rapid, Repeat-sample Monitoring of Crustal Deformations and Environmental Phenomena with the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, Robert C.

    2006-01-01

    The Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) is a precision repeat-pass Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) mission being developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Dryden Flight Research Center in support of NASA s Science Mission Directorate. UAVSAR's unique ability to fly a repeatable flight path, along with an electronically steerable array, allows interferometric data to be obtained with accuracies measured in millimeters. Deploying the radar on an airborne platform will also allow for radar images to be collected and compared with images from the same area taken hours or even years later - providing for long-term trending and near real-time notification of changes and deformations. UAVSAR s data processing algorithms will provide for near-real time data reduction providing disaster planning and response teams with highly accurate data to aid in the prediction of, and response to, natural phenomena. UAVSAR data can be applied to increasing our understanding of the processes behind solid earth, cryosphere, carbon cycle and other areas of interest in earth science. Technologies developed for UAVSAR may also be applicable to a future earth-orbiting InSAR mission and possibly for missions to the Moon or Mars. The UAVSAR is expected to fly on a Gulfstream III aircraft this winter, followed by a flight test program lasting until the second half of 2007. Following radar calibration and data reduction activities, the platform will be ready for science users in the summer of 2008.

  17. Sensitivity analyses for the DTMs derived from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in gully erosion mapping: Nallihan badland area (Ankara, Turkey)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avdan, Ugur; Gorum, Tolga; Comert, Resul; Nefeslioglu, Hakan

    2015-04-01

    The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the spatial resolutions for the Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) derived from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in gully erosion mapping. For the purpose, Nallihan badland area (Ankara, Turkey) was selected to be the experimental site. The investigations were carried out in 3 stages; (i) production of the DTMs having 3 cm and 9 cm spatial resolutions by using the orthophoto imagery acquired from the UAV at 97.5 m and 292.4 m altitudes, respectively, (ii) Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) of the experimental site and production of the DTMs derived from the TLS data resampled at 3 cm and 9 cm spatial resolutions, and (iii) spatial and profile comparisons of the derived data. The average altitude differences were obtained on the intervals (-0.1, 0.1) m and (-0.2, 0.2) m for the comparisons between TLS-3cm and UAV-3cm, and TLS-9cm and UAV-9cm data, respectively. Additionally, considering the profile comparisons, it is revealed that depending on the decreasing of spatial resolution, the erosion rates calculated from the DTMs increase artificially.

  18. High-Resolution, Semi-Automatic Fault Mapping Using Umanned Aerial Vehicles and Computer Vision: Mapping from an Armchair

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Micklethwaite, S.; Vasuki, Y.; Turner, D.; Kovesi, P.; Holden, E.; Lucieer, A.

    2012-12-01

    Our ability to characterise fractures depends upon the accuracy and precision of field techniques, as well as the quantity of data that can be collected. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs; otherwise known as "drones") and photogrammetry, provide exciting new opportunities for the accurate mapping of fracture networks, over large surface areas. We use a highly stable, 8 rotor, UAV platform (Oktokopter) with a digital SLR camera and the Structure-from-Motion computer vision technique, to generate point clouds, wireframes, digital elevation models and orthorectified photo mosaics. Furthermore, new image analysis methods such as phase congruency are applied to the data to semiautomatically map fault networks. A case study is provided of intersecting fault networks and associated damage, from Piccaninny Point in Tasmania, Australia. Outcrops >1 km in length can be surveyed in a single 5-10 minute flight, with pixel resolution ~1 cm. Centimetre scale precision can be achieved when selected ground control points are measured using a total station. These techniques have the potential to provide rapid, ultra-high resolution mapping of fracture networks, from many different lithologies; enabling us to more accurately assess the "fit" of observed data relative to model predictions, over a wide range of boundary conditions.igh resolution DEM of faulted outcrop (Piccaninny Point, Tasmania) generated using the Oktokopter UAV (inset) and photogrammetric techniques.

  19. A Space-Time Network-Based Modeling Framework for Dynamic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Routing in Traffic Incident Monitoring Applications.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jisheng; Jia, Limin; Niu, Shuyun; Zhang, Fan; Tong, Lu; Zhou, Xuesong

    2015-01-01

    It is essential for transportation management centers to equip and manage a network of fixed and mobile sensors in order to quickly detect traffic incidents and further monitor the related impact areas, especially for high-impact accidents with dramatic traffic congestion propagation. As emerging small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) start to have a more flexible regulation environment, it is critically important to fully explore the potential for of using UAVs for monitoring recurring and non-recurring traffic conditions and special events on transportation networks. This paper presents a space-time network- based modeling framework for integrated fixed and mobile sensor networks, in order to provide a rapid and systematic road traffic monitoring mechanism. By constructing a discretized space-time network to characterize not only the speed for UAVs but also the time-sensitive impact areas of traffic congestion, we formulate the problem as a linear integer programming model to minimize the detection delay cost and operational cost, subject to feasible flying route constraints. A Lagrangian relaxation solution framework is developed to decompose the original complex problem into a series of computationally efficient time-dependent and least cost path finding sub-problems. Several examples are used to demonstrate the results of proposed models in UAVs' route planning for small and medium-scale networks. PMID:26076404

  20. The left wing of NASA's Altair unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) rests in a jig during construction at G

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The left wing of NASA's Altair unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) rests in a jig during construction at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., (GA-ASI) facility at Adelanto, Calif. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., is developing the Altair version of its Predator B unmanned reconnaissance aircraft under NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) project. NASA plans to use the Altair as a technology demonstrator to validate a variety of command and control technologies for UAVs, as well as demonstrate the capability to perform a variety of Earth science missions. The Altair is designed to carry an 700-lb. payload of scientific instruments and imaging equipment for as long as 32 hours at up to 52,000 feet altitude. Eleven-foot extensions have been added to each wing, giving the Altair an overall wingspan of 86 feet with an aspect ratio of 23. It is powered by a 700-hp. rear-mounted TPE-331-10 turboprop engine, driving a three-blade propeller. Altair is scheduled to begin flight tests in the fourth quarter of 2002, and be acquired by NASA following successful completion of basic airworthiness tests in early 2003 for evaluation of over-the-horizon control, detect, see and avoid and other technologies required to allow UAVs to operate safely with other aircraft in the national airspace.

  1. The payload bay in the nose of NASA's Altair unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be able to carry up

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The payload bay in the nose of NASA's Altair unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), shown here during final construction at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., (GA-ASI) facility at Adelanto, Calif., will be able to carry up to 700 lbs. of sensors, imaging equipment and other instruments for Earth science missions. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., is developing the Altair version of its Predator B unmanned reconnaissance aircraft under NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) project. NASA plans to use the Altair as a technology demonstrator to validate a variety of command and control technologies for UAVs, as well as demonstrate the capability to perform a variety of Earth science missions. The Altair is designed to carry an 700-lb. payload of scientific instruments and imaging equipment for as long as 32 hours at up to 52,000 feet altitude. Eleven-foot extensions have been added to each wing, giving the Altair an overall wingspan of 86 feet with an aspect ratio of 23. It is powered by a 700-hp. rear-mounted TPE-331-10 turboprop engine, driving a three-blade propeller. Altair is scheduled to begin flight tests in the fourth quarter of 2002, and be acquired by NASA following successful completion of basic airworthiness tests in early 2003 for evaluation of over-the-horizon control, detect, see and avoid and other technologies required to allow UAVs to operate safely with other aircraft in the national airspace.

  2. A methodology for near real-time change detection between Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and wide area satellite images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fytsilis, Anastasios L.; Prokos, Anthony; Koutroumbas, Konstantinos D.; Michail, Dimitrios; Kontoes, Charalambos C.

    2016-09-01

    In this paper a novel integrated hybrid methodology for unsupervised change detection between Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and satellite images, which can be utilized in various fields like security applications (e.g. border surveillance) and damage assessment, is proposed. This is a challenging problem mainly due to the difference in geographic coverage and the spatial resolution of the two images, as well as to the acquisition modes which lead to misregistration errors. The methodology consists of the following steps: (a) pre-processing, where the part of the satellite image that corresponds to the UAV image is determined and the UAV image is ortho-rectified using information provided by a Digital Terrain Model, (b) the detection of potential changes, which is based exclusively on intensity and image gradient information, (c) the generation of the region map, where homogeneous regions are produced by the previous potential changes via a seeded region growing algorithm and placed on the region map, and (d) the evaluation of the above regions, in order to characterize them as true changes or not. The methodology has been applied on demanding real datasets with very encouraging results. Finally, its robustness to the misregistration errors is assessed via extensive experimentation.

  3. Reflectance Data Processing of High Resolution Multispectral Data Acquired with an Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle AggieairTM

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaman, B.; Jensen, A.; McKee, M.

    2012-12-01

    In this study, the performance and accuracy of a method for converting airborne multispectral data to reflectance data are characterized. Spectral reflectance is the ratio of reflected to incident radiant flux and it may have values only in the interval 0-1, inclusive. Reflectance is a key physical property of a surface and is empirically derived from on-ground observations. The paper presents a method for processing multispectral data acquired by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform, called AggieAirTM, and a process for converting raw digital numbers to calibrated reflectance values. Imagery is acquired by two identical sets of cameras. One set is aboard the UAV and the other is over a barium sulfate reference panel. The cameras have identical settings. The major steps for producing the reflectance data involve the calibration of the reference panel, calibration of the multispectral UAV cameras, zenith angle calculations and image processing. The method converts airborne multispectral data by calculating the ratio of linearly-interpolated reference values from the pre- and post-flight reference panel readings. The flight interval is typically approximately 30 minutes and the imagery is acquired around local solar noon. The UAV is typically flown at low altitudes to reduce atmospheric effects to a negligible level. Data acquired over wetlands near Great Salt Lake, Utah is used to illustrate ground data and processed imagery. The spectral resolution of the multispectral data is 25 cms. The paper discusses the accuracy issues and errors associated with the proposed method.

  4. Monitoring the Invasion of Spartina alterniflora Using Very High Resolution Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery in Beihai, Guangxi (China)

    PubMed Central

    Wan, Huawei; Wang, Qiao; Jiang, Dong; Yang, Yipeng; Liu, Xiaoman

    2014-01-01

    Spartina alterniflora was introduced to Beihai, Guangxi (China), for ecological engineering purposes in 1979. However, the exceptional adaptability and reproductive ability of this species have led to its extensive dispersal into other habitats, where it has had a negative impact on native species and threatens the local mangrove and mudflat ecosystems. To obtain the distribution and spread of Spartina alterniflora, we collected HJ-1 CCD imagery from 2009 and 2011 and very high resolution (VHR) imagery from the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The invasion area of Spartina alterniflora was 357.2 ha in 2011, which increased by 19.07% compared with the area in 2009. A field survey was conducted for verification and the total accuracy was 94.0%. The results of this paper show that VHR imagery can provide details on distribution, progress, and early detection of Spartina alterniflora invasion. OBIA, object based image analysis for remote sensing (RS) detection method, can enable control measures to be more effective, accurate, and less expensive than a field survey of the invasive population. PMID:24892066

  5. Automatic vehicle detection based on automatic histogram-based fuzzy C-means algorithm and perceptual grouping using very high-resolution aerial imagery and road vector data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghaffarian, Saman; Gökaşar, Ilgın

    2016-01-01

    This study presents an approach for the automatic detection of vehicles using very high-resolution images and road vector data. Initially, road vector data and aerial images are integrated to extract road regions. Then, the extracted road/street region is clustered using an automatic histogram-based fuzzy C-means algorithm, and edge pixels are detected using the Canny edge detector. In order to automatically detect vehicles, we developed a local perceptual grouping approach based on fusion of edge detection and clustering outputs. To provide the locality, an ellipse is generated using characteristics of the candidate clusters individually. Then, ratio of edge pixels to nonedge pixels in the corresponding ellipse is computed to distinguish the vehicles. Finally, a point-merging rule is conducted to merge the points that satisfy a predefined threshold and are supposed to denote the same vehicles. The experimental validation of the proposed method was carried out on six very high-resolution aerial images that illustrate two highways, two shadowed roads, a crowded narrow street, and a street in a dense urban area with crowded parked vehicles. The evaluation of the results shows that our proposed method performed 86% and 83% in overall correctness and completeness, respectively.

  6. Resonant Wingbeat Tuning Circuit using Strain-Rate Feedback for Ornithoptic Micro Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raney, David L. (Inventor)

    2005-01-01

    A resonant wingbeat tuning circuit automatically tunes the frequency of an actuating input to the resonant frequency of a flexible wing structure. Through the use of feedback control, the circuit produces the maximum flapping amplitude of a mechanical ornithoptic system, tracking the resonant frequency of the vibratory flapping apparatus as it vanes in response to change in flight condition, ambient pressure, or incurred wing damage.

  7. Two-Step System Identification and Primitive-Based Motion Planning for Control of Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grymin, David J.

    This dissertation addresses motion planning, modeling, and feedback control for autonomous vehicle systems. A hierarchical approach for motion planning and control of nonlinear systems operating in obstacle environments is presented. To reduce computation time during the motion planning process, dynamically feasible trajectories are generated in real-time through concatenation of pre-specified motion primitives. The motion planning task is posed as a search over a directed graph, and the applicability of informed graph search techniques is investigated. Specifically, a locally greedy algorithm with effective backtracking ability is developed and compared to weighted A* search. The greedy algorithm shows an advantage with respect to solution cost and computation time when larger motion primitive libraries that do not operate on a regular state lattice are utilized. Linearization of the nonlinear system equations about the motion primitive library results in a hybrid linear time-varying model, and an optimal control algorithm using the l 2-induced norm as the performance measure is applied to ensure that the system tracks the desired trajectory. The ability of the resulting controller to closely track the trajectory obtained from the motion planner, despite various disturbances and uncertainties, is demonstrated through simulation. Additionally, an approach for obtaining dynamically feasible reference trajectories and feedback controllers for a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based on an aerodynamic model derived from flight tests is presented. The modeling approach utilizes the two step method (TSM) with stepwise multiple regression to determine relevant explanatory terms for the aerodynamic models. Dynamically feasible trajectories are then obtained through the solution of an optimal control problem using pseudospectral optimal control software. Discretetime feedback controllers are then obtained to regulate the vehicle along the desired reference trajectory

  8. Vehicle to Micro-Grid: Leveraging Existing Assets for Reliable Energy Management (Poster)

    SciTech Connect

    Simpson, M.; Markel, T.; O'Keefe, M.

    2010-12-01

    Fort Carson, a United States Army installation located south of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is seeking to be a net-zero energy facility. As part of this initiative, the base will be constructing a micro-grid that ties to various forms of renewable energy. To reduce petroleum consumption, Fort Carson is considering grid-connected vehicles (GCVs) such as pure electric trucks to replace some of its on-base truck fleet. As the availability and affordability of distributed renewable energy generation options increase, so will the GCV options (currently, three all-electric trucks are available on the GSA schedule). The presence of GCVs on-base opens up the possibility to utilize these vehicles to provide stability to the base micro-grid. This poster summarizes work to estimate the potential impacts of three electric vehicle grid interactions between the electric truck fleet and the Fort Carson micro-grid: 1) full-power charging without management, 2) full-power charging capability controlled by the local grid authority, and 3) full-power charge and discharge capability controlled by the local grid authority. We found that even at relatively small adoption rates, the control of electric vehicle charging at Fort Carson will aid in regulation of variable renewable generation loads and help stabilize the micro-grid.

  9. High-Resolution Monitoring of Himalayan Glacier Dynamics Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Immerzeel, W.; Kraaijenbrink, P. D. A.; Shea, J.; Shrestha, A. B.; Pellicciotti, F.; Bierkens, M. F.; de Jong, S. M.

    2014-12-01

    Himalayan glacier tongues are commonly debris covered and play an important role in modulating the glacier response to climate . However, they remain relatively unstudied because of the inaccessibility of the terrain and the difficulties in field work caused by the thick debris mantles. Observations of debris-covered glaciers are therefore limited to point locations and airborne remote sensing may bridge the gap between scarce, point field observations and coarse resolution space-borne remote sensing. In this study we deploy an Unmanned Airborne Vehicle (UAV) on two debris covered glaciers in the Nepalese Himalayas: the Lirung and Langtang glacier during four field campaigns in 2013 and 2014. Based on stereo-imaging and the structure for motion algorithm we derive highly detailed ortho-mosaics and digital elevation models (DEMs), which we geometrically correct using differential GPS observations collected in the field. Based on DEM differencing and manual feature tracking we derive the mass loss and the surface velocity of the glacier at a high spatial resolution and accuracy. We also assess spatiotemporal changes in supra-glacial lakes and ice cliffs based on the imagery. On average, mass loss is limited and the surface velocity is very small. However, the spatial variability of melt rates is very high, and ice cliffs and supra-glacial ponds show mass losses that can be an order of magnitude higher than the average. We suggest that future research should focus on the interaction between supra-glacial ponds, ice cliffs and englacial hydrology to further understand the dynamics of debris-covered glaciers. Finally, we conclude that UAV deployment has large potential in glaciology and it represents a substantial advancement over methods currently applied in studying glacier surface features.

  10. Weed Mapping in Early-Season Maize Fields Using Object-Based Analysis of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Images

    PubMed Central

    Peña, José Manuel; Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; de Castro, Ana Isabel; Kelly, Maggi; López-Granados, Francisca

    2013-01-01

    The use of remote imagery captured by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) has tremendous potential for designing detailed site-specific weed control treatments in early post-emergence, which have not possible previously with conventional airborne or satellite images. A robust and entirely automatic object-based image analysis (OBIA) procedure was developed on a series of UAV images using a six-band multispectral camera (visible and near-infrared range) with the ultimate objective of generating a weed map in an experimental maize field in Spain. The OBIA procedure combines several contextual, hierarchical and object-based features and consists of three consecutive phases: 1) classification of crop rows by application of a dynamic and auto-adaptive classification approach, 2) discrimination of crops and weeds on the basis of their relative positions with reference to the crop rows, and 3) generation of a weed infestation map in a grid structure. The estimation of weed coverage from the image analysis yielded satisfactory results. The relationship of estimated versus observed weed densities had a coefficient of determination of r2=0.89 and a root mean square error of 0.02. A map of three categories of weed coverage was produced with 86% of overall accuracy. In the experimental field, the area free of weeds was 23%, and the area with low weed coverage (<5% weeds) was 47%, which indicated a high potential for reducing herbicide application or other weed operations. The OBIA procedure computes multiple data and statistics derived from the classification outputs, which permits calculation of herbicide requirements and estimation of the overall cost of weed management operations in advance. PMID:24146963

  11. Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technologies in infrastructure construction project management and delay and disruption analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vacanas, Yiannis; Themistocleous, Kyriacos; Agapiou, Athos; Hadjimitsis, Diofantos

    2015-06-01

    Time in infrastructure construction projects has always been a fundamental issue as early as from the inception of a project, during the construction process and often after the completion and delivery. In a typical construction contract time related matters such as the completion date and possible delays are among the most important issues that are dealt with by the contract provisions. In the event of delay there are usually provisions for extension of time award to the contractor with possible reimbursement for the extra cost and expenses caused by this extension of time to the contract duration. In the case the contractor is not entitled to extension of time, the owner will be possibly entitled to amounts as compensation for the time prohibited from using his development. Even in the event of completion within the time agreed, under certain circumstances a contractor may have claims for reimbursement for extra costs incurred due to induced acceleration measures he had to take in order to mitigate disruption effects caused to the progress of the works by the owner or his representatives. Depending on the size of the project and the agreement amount, these reimbursement sums may be extremely high. Therefore innovative methods with the exploitation of new technologies for effective project management for the avoidance of delays, delay analysis and mitigation measures are essential; moreover, methods for collecting efficiently information during the construction process so that disputes regarding time are avoided or resolved in a quick and fair manner are required. This paper explores the state of art for existing use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) technologies in the construction industry in general. Moreover the paper considers the prospect of using BIM technology in conjunction with the use of UAV technology for efficient and accurate as-built data collection and illustration of the works progress during an

  12. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Imagery to Investigate Surface Displacements and Surface Features of the Super-Sauze Earthflow (France)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    James, M. R.; Tizzard, S.; Niethammer, U.

    2014-12-01

    We present the result of using imagery collected with a small rotary wing UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to investigate surface displacements and fissures on the Super-Sauze earthflow (France); a slow moving earthflow with the potential to develop into rapid and highly destructive mud flows. UAV imagery acquired in October 2009 was processed using a structure-from-motion and multi-view stereo (SfM-MVS) approach in PhotoScan software. Identification of ~200 ground control points throughout the image set was facilitated by automated image matching in SfM_georef software[1] and the data incorporated into PhotoScan for network optimisation and georeferencing. The completed 2009 model enabled an ~5 cm spatial resolution orthoimage to be generated with an expected accuracy (based on residuals on control) of ~0.3 m. This was supported by comparison to a previously created 2008 model, which gave standard deviations on tie points (located on stationary terrain) of 0.27 m and 0.43 m in Easting and Northing respectively. The high resolution of the orthoimage allowed an investigation into surface displacements and geomorphology of surface features (compared to the 2008 model). The results have produced a comprehensive surface displacement map of the Super-Sauze earthflow, as well as highlighting interesting variations in fissure geomorphology and density between the 2008 and 2009 models. This study underscored the capability for UAV imagery and SfM-MVS to generate highly detailed orthographic imagery and DEMs with a low cost approach that offers significant potential for landslide hazard assessments. [1] http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/jamesm/software/sfm_georef.htm

  13. Weed mapping in early-season maize fields using object-based analysis of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) images.

    PubMed

    Peña, José Manuel; Torres-Sánchez, Jorge; de Castro, Ana Isabel; Kelly, Maggi; López-Granados, Francisca

    2013-01-01

    The use of remote imagery captured by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) has tremendous potential for designing detailed site-specific weed control treatments in early post-emergence, which have not possible previously with conventional airborne or satellite images. A robust and entirely automatic object-based image analysis (OBIA) procedure was developed on a series of UAV images using a six-band multispectral camera (visible and near-infrared range) with the ultimate objective of generating a weed map in an experimental maize field in Spain. The OBIA procedure combines several contextual, hierarchical and object-based features and consists of three consecutive phases: 1) classification of crop rows by application of a dynamic and auto-adaptive classification approach, 2) discrimination of crops and weeds on the basis of their relative positions with reference to the crop rows, and 3) generation of a weed infestation map in a grid structure. The estimation of weed coverage from the image analysis yielded satisfactory results. The relationship of estimated versus observed weed densities had a coefficient of determination of r(2)=0.89 and a root mean square error of 0.02. A map of three categories of weed coverage was produced with 86% of overall accuracy. In the experimental field, the area free of weeds was 23%, and the area with low weed coverage (<5% weeds) was 47%, which indicated a high potential for reducing herbicide application or other weed operations. The OBIA procedure computes multiple data and statistics derived from the classification outputs, which permits calculation of herbicide requirements and estimation of the overall cost of weed management operations in advance. PMID:24146963

  14. Detection of surface elevation changes using an unmanned aerial vehicle on the debris-free Storbreen glacier in Norway

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kraaijenbrink, Philip; Andreassen, Liss; Immerzeel, Walter

    2016-04-01

    Recent studies have shown that the application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has great potential to investigate the dynamic behavior of glaciers. The studies have successfully deployed UAVs over generally contrast-rich surfaces of debris-covered glaciers and highly crevassed bare ice glaciers. In this study, the potential of UAVs in glaciology is further exploited, as we use a fixed-wing UAV over the largely snow-covered Storbreen glacier in Norway in September 2015. The acquired UAV-imagery was processed into accurate digital elevation models and image mosaics using a Structure from Motion workflow. Georeferencing of the data was obtained by ingesting ground control points into the workflow that were accurately measured with a differential global navigation satellite system (DGNSS). Geodetic accuracy was determined by comparison with DGNSS surface profiles and stake positions that were measured on the same day. The processed data were compared with a LIDAR survey and airborne imagery acquisition from September and October 2009 to examine mass loss patterns and glacier retreat. Results show that the UAV is capable of producing high-quality elevation models and image mosaics for the low-contrast snow-covered Storbreen at unprecedented detail. The accuracy of the output product is lower when compared to contrast-rich debris-covered glaciers, but still considerably more accurate than spaceborne data products. Comparison with LIDAR data shows a spatially heterogeneous downwasting pattern of about 0.75 m a‑1 over 2009-2015 for the upper part of Storbreen. The lower part exhibits considerably more downwasting in the range of 0.9-2.1 m a‑1. We conclude that UAVs can be valuable for surveys of snow-covered glaciers to provide sufficient accurate elevation models and image mosaics, and we recommend the use of UAVs for the routine monitoring of benchmark glaciers such as Storbreen.

  15. Assessing the quality of digital elevation models obtained from mini unmanned aerial vehicles for overland flow modelling in urban areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leitão, João P.; Moy de Vitry, Matthew; Scheidegger, Andreas; Rieckermann, Jörg

    2016-04-01

    Precise and detailed digital elevation models (DEMs) are essential to accurately predict overland flow in urban areas. Unfortunately, traditional sources of DEM, such as airplane light detection and ranging (lidar) DEMs and point and contour maps, remain a bottleneck for detailed and reliable overland flow models, because the resulting DEMs are too coarse to provide DEMs of sufficient detail to inform urban overland flows. Interestingly, technological developments of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) suggest that they have matured enough to be a competitive alternative to satellites or airplanes. However, this has not been tested so far. In this study we therefore evaluated whether DEMs generated from UAV imagery are suitable for urban drainage overland flow modelling. Specifically, 14 UAV flights were conducted to assess the influence of four different flight parameters on the quality of generated DEMs: (i) flight altitude, (ii) image overlapping, (iii) camera pitch, and (iv) weather conditions. In addition, we compared the best-quality UAV DEM to a conventional lidar-based DEM. To evaluate both the quality of the UAV DEMs and the comparison to lidar-based DEMs, we performed regression analysis on several qualitative and quantitative metrics, such as elevation accuracy, quality of object representation (e.g. buildings, walls and trees) in the DEM, which were specifically tailored to assess overland flow modelling performance, using the flight parameters as explanatory variables. Our results suggested that, first, as expected, flight altitude influenced the DEM quality most, where lower flights produce better DEMs; in a similar fashion, overcast weather conditions are preferable, but weather conditions and other factors influence DEM quality much less. Second, we found that for urban overland flow modelling, the UAV DEMs performed competitively in comparison to a traditional lidar-based DEM. An important advantage of using UAVs to generate DEMs in urban areas is

  16. Seasonal associations and atmospheric transport distances of Fusarium collected with unmanned aerial vehicles and ground-based sampling devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmale, David; Ross, Shane; Lin, Binbin

    2014-05-01

    Spores of fungi in the genus Fusarium may be transported through the atmosphere over long distances. Members of this genus are important pathogens and mycotoxin producers. New information is needed to characterize seasonal trends in atmospheric loads of Fusarium and to pinpoint the source(s) of inoculum at both local (farm) and regional (state or country) scales. Spores of Fusarium were collected from the atmosphere in an agricultural ecosystem in Blacksburg, VA, USA using a Burkard volumetric sampler (BVS) 1 m above ground level and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) 100 m above ground level. More than 2,200 colony forming units (CFUs) of Fusarium were collected during 104 BVS sampling periods and 180 UAV sampling periods over four calendar years (2009-2012). Spore concentrations ranged from 0 to 13 and 0 to 23 spores m-3 for the BVS and the UAVs, respectively. Spore concentrations were generally higher in the fall, spring, and summer, and lower in the winter. Spore concentrations from the BVS were generally higher than those from the UAVs for both seasonal and hourly collections. Some of the species of Fusarium identified from our collections have not been previously reported in the state of Virginia. A Gaussian plume transport model was used to estimate distances to the potential inoculum source(s) by season. This work extends previous studies showing an association between atmospheric transport barriers (Lagrangian coherent structures or LCSs) and the movement of Fusarium in the lower atmosphere. An increased understanding of the aerobiology of Fusarium may contribute to new and improved control strategies for diseases causes by fusaria in the future.

  17. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Assess Vegetative Cover and Identify Biotic Resources in Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems: Preliminary Evaluation

    SciTech Connect

    Robert P. Breckenridge

    2006-04-01

    The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), in conjunction with the University of Idaho, is evaluating novel approaches for using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a quicker and safer method for monitoring biotic resources. Evaluating vegetative cover is an important factor in understanding the sustainability of many ecosystems. In assessing vegetative cover, methods that improve accuracy and cost efficiency could revolutionize how biotic resources are monitored on western federal lands. Sagebrush steppe ecosystems provide important habitat for a variety of species, some of which are important indicator species (e.g., sage grouse). Improved methods are needed to support monitoring these habitats because there are not enough resource specialists or funds available for comprehensive ground evaluation of these ecosystems. In this project, two types of UAV platforms (fixed wing and helicopter) were used to collect still-frame imagery to assess cover in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. This paper discusses the process for collecting and analyzing imagery from the UAVs to (1) estimate total percent cover, (2) estimate percent cover for six different types of vegetation, and (3) locate sage grouse based on representative decoys. The field plots were located on the INL site west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, in areas with varying amounts and types of vegetative cover. A software program called SamplePoint developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service was used to evaluate the imagery for percent cover for the six vegetation types (bare ground, litter, shrubs, dead shrubs, grasses, and forbs). Results were compared against standard field measurements to assess accuracy.

  18. A Mobile System for Measuring Water Surface Velocities Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and Large-Scale Particle Image Velocimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Y. L.

    2015-12-01

    Measurement technologies for velocity of river flow are divided into intrusive and nonintrusive methods. Intrusive method requires infield operations. The measuring process of intrusive methods are time consuming, and likely to cause damages of operator and instrument. Nonintrusive methods require fewer operators and can reduce instrument damages from directly attaching to the flow. Nonintrusive measurements may use radar or image velocimetry to measure the velocities at the surface of water flow. The image velocimetry, such as large scale particle image velocimetry (LSPIV) accesses not only the point velocity but the flow velocities in an area simultaneously. Flow properties of an area hold the promise of providing spatially information of flow fields. This study attempts to construct a mobile system UAV-LSPIV by using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with LSPIV to measure flows in fields. The mobile system consists of a six-rotor UAV helicopter, a Sony nex5T camera, a gimbal, an image transfer device, a ground station and a remote control device. The activate gimbal helps maintain the camera lens orthogonal to the water surface and reduce the extent of images being distorted. The image transfer device can monitor the captured image instantly. The operator controls the UAV by remote control device through ground station and can achieve the flying data such as flying height and GPS coordinate of UAV. The mobile system was then applied to field experiments. The deviation of velocities measured by UAV-LSPIV of field experiments and handhold Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV) is under 8%. The results of the field experiments suggests that the application of UAV-LSPIV can be effectively applied to surface flow studies.

  19. CFD based aerodynamic modeling to study flight dynamics of a flapping wing micro air vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rege, Alok Ashok

    The demand for small unmanned air vehicles, commonly termed micro air vehicles or MAV's, is rapidly increasing. Driven by applications ranging from civil search-and-rescue missions to military surveillance missions, there is a rising level of interest and investment in better vehicle designs, and miniaturized components are enabling many rapid advances. The need to better understand fundamental aspects of flight for small vehicles has spawned a surge in high quality research in the area of micro air vehicles. These aircraft have a set of constraints which are, in many ways, considerably different from that of traditional aircraft and are often best addressed by a multidisciplinary approach. Fast-response non-linear controls, nano-structures, integrated propulsion and lift mechanisms, highly flexible structures, and low Reynolds aerodynamics are just a few of the important considerations which may be combined in the execution of MAV research. The main objective of this thesis is to derive a consistent nonlinear dynamic model to study the flight dynamics of micro air vehicles with a reasonably accurate representation of aerodynamic forces and moments. The research is divided into two sections. In the first section, derivation of the nonlinear dynamics of flapping wing micro air vehicles is presented. The flapping wing micro air vehicle (MAV) used in this research is modeled as a system of three rigid bodies: a body and two wings. The design is based on an insect called Drosophila Melanogaster, commonly known as fruit-fly. The mass and inertial effects of the wing on the body are neglected for the present work. The nonlinear dynamics is simulated with the aerodynamic data published in the open literature. The flapping frequency is used as the control input. Simulations are run for different cases of wing positions and the chosen parameters are studied for boundedness. Results show a qualitative inconsistency in boundedness for some cases, and demand a better

  20. Micro Climate Assessment of Grid-Connected Electric Drive Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure. Final Report

    SciTech Connect

    Schey, Stephen; Francfort, Jim

    2015-12-01

    Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, managing and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, is the lead laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s advanced vehicle testing. Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC contracted with Intertek Testing Services, North America to conduct several U.S. Department of Defense-based micro-climate studies to identify potential U.S. Department of Defense transportation systems that are strong candidates for introduction or expansion of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The study included Joint Base Lewis McChord, located in Washington State; Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, located in Washington State; and United States Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune, located in North Carolina. The project was divided into four tasks for each of the three bases studied. Task 1 consisted of surveying the non-tactical fleet of vehicles to begin review of vehicle mission assignments and types of vehicles in service. In Task 2, the daily operational characteristics of the vehicles were identified to select vehicles for further monitoring and attachment of data loggers. Task 3 recorded vehicle movements in order to characterize the vehicles’ missions. Results of the data analysis and observations were provided. Individual observations of these selected vehicles provided the basis for recommendations related to PEV adoption (i.e., whether a battery electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle [collectively referred to as PEVs] can fulfill the mission requirements). It also provided the basis for recommendations related to placement of PEV charging infrastructure. In Task 4, an implementation approach was provided for near-term adoption of PEVs into the respective fleets. Each facility was provided detailed reports on each of these tasks. This paper summarizes and provides observations on the project and completes Intertek’s required actions.

  1. Aerial Explorers and Robotic Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Larry A.; Pisanich, Greg

    2004-01-01

    A unique bio-inspired approach to autonomous aerial vehicle, a.k.a. aerial explorer technology is discussed. The work is focused on defining and studying aerial explorer mission concepts, both as an individual robotic system and as a member of a small robotic "ecosystem." Members of this robotic ecosystem include the aerial explorer, air-deployed sensors and robotic symbiotes, and other assets such as rovers, landers, and orbiters.

  2. 76 FR 61750 - Vehicle-Mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms (Aerial Lifts); Extension of the Office of...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-10-05

    ... Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3506 et seq.) and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 4-2010 (75 FR 55355). Signed... reduce workers' risk of death or serious injury by ensuring that aerial lifts are in safe...

  3. Experimental investigation of a quad-rotor biplane micro air vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogdanowicz, Christopher Michael

    Micro air vehicles are expected to perform demanding missions requiring efficient operation in both hover and forward flight. This thesis discusses the development of a hybrid air vehicle which seamlessly combines both flight capabilities: hover and high-speed forward flight. It is the quad-rotor biplane, which weighs 240 grams and consists of four propellers with wings arranged in a biplane configuration. The performance of the vehicle system was investigated in conditions representative of flight through a series of wind tunnel experiments. These studies provided an understanding of propeller-wing interaction effects and system trim analysis. This showed that the maximum speed of 11 m/s and a cruise speed of 4 m/s were achievable and that the cruise power is approximately one-third of the hover power. Free flight testing of the vehicle successfully highlighted its ability to achieve equilibrium transition flight. Key design parameters were experimentally investigated to understand their effect on overall performance. It was found that a trade-off between efficiency and compactness affects the final choice of the design. Design improvements have allowed for decreases in vehicle weight and ground footprint, while increasing structural soundness. Numerous vehicle designs, models, and flight tests have proven system scalability as well as versatility, including an upscaled model to be utilized in an extensive commercial package delivery system. Overall, the quad-rotor biplane is proven to be an efficient and effective multi-role vehicle.

  4. Development of Micro Air Reconnaissance Vehicle as a Test Bed for Advanced Sensors and Electronics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shams, Qamar A.; Vranas, Thomas L.; Fox, Robert L.; Kuhn, Theodore R.; Ingham, John; Logan, Michael J.; Barnes, Kevin N.; Guenther, Benjamin F.

    2002-01-01

    This paper describes the development of a Micro/Mini Air Reconnaissance Vehicle for advanced sensors and electronics at NASA Langley Research Center over the last year. This vehicle is expected to have a total weight of less than four pounds, a design velocity of 40 mph, an endurance of 15-20 minutes, and a maximum range of 5km. The vehicle has wings that are simple to detach yet retain the correct alignment. The upper fuselage surface has a quick release hatch used to access the interior and also to mount the varying propulsion systems. The sensor suite developed for this vehicle consists of a Pitot-static measurement system for determining air speed, an absolute pressure measurement for determining altitude, magnetic direction measurement, and three orthogonal gyros to determine body angular rates. Swarming GPS-guidance and in-flight maneuvering is discussed, as well as design and installation of some other advance sensors like MEMS microphones, infrared cameras, GPS, humidity sensors, and an ultrasonic sonar sensor. Also low cost, small size, high performance control and navigation system for the Micro Air Vehicle is discussed. At the end, laboratory characterization of different sensors, motors, propellers, and batteries will be discussed.

  5. A laboratory stand for research concerning drive units applied in unmanned flying micro vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walendziuk, Wojciech; Oldziej, Daniel; Golinski, Pawel

    2015-09-01

    This article presents a laboratory stand used for research concerning static and dynamic characteristics of MAV (micro air vehicle) drive units. An electric powered drive unit, applied in unmanned flying vehicles of short range was chosen as the research object. Such device consists of the following elements: acquisition and control unit, a variable frequency drive (VFD), an engine and a propeller. The article contains a description of the stand structure as well as the way of data acquisition and an example of its processing in the post-processing mode. Moreover, example tests and the results are presented here.

  6. Detecting Faults in Southern California using Computer-Vision Techniques and Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) Interferometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barba, M.; Rains, C.; von Dassow, W.; Parker, J. W.; Glasscoe, M. T.

    2013-12-01

    Knowing the location and behavior of active faults is essential for earthquake hazard assessment and disaster response. In Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) images, faults are revealed as linear discontinuities. Currently, interferograms are manually inspected to locate faults. During the summer of 2013, the NASA-JPL DEVELOP California Disasters team contributed to the development of a method to expedite fault detection in California using remote-sensing technology. The team utilized InSAR images created from polarimetric L-band data from NASA's Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) project. A computer-vision technique known as 'edge-detection' was used to automate the fault-identification process. We tested and refined an edge-detection algorithm under development through NASA's Earthquake Data Enhanced Cyber-Infrastructure for Disaster Evaluation and Response (E-DECIDER) project. To optimize the algorithm we used both UAVSAR interferograms and synthetic interferograms generated through Disloc, a web-based modeling program available through NASA's QuakeSim project. The edge-detection algorithm detected seismic, aseismic, and co-seismic slip along faults that were identified and compared with databases of known fault systems. Our optimization process was the first step toward integration of the edge-detection code into E-DECIDER to provide decision support for earthquake preparation and disaster management. E-DECIDER partners that will use the edge-detection code include the California Earthquake Clearinghouse and the US Department of Homeland Security through delivery of products using the Unified Incident Command and Decision Support (UICDS) service. Through these partnerships, researchers, earthquake disaster response teams, and policy-makers will be able to use this new methodology to examine the details of ground and fault motions for moderate to large earthquakes. Following an earthquake, the newly discovered faults can

  7. Fluorescence Lyman-Alpha Stratospheric Hygrometer (FLASH): application on meteorological balloons, long duration balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lykov, Alexey; Khaykin, Sergey; Yushkov, Vladimir; Efremov, Denis; Formanyuk, Ivan; Astakhov, Valeriy

    The FLASH instrument is based on the fluorescent method, which uses H2O molecules photodissociation at a wavelength lambda=121.6 nm (Lalpha - hydrogen emission) followed by the measurement of the fluorescence of excited OH radicals. The source of Lyman-alpha radiation is a hydrogen discharge lamp while the detector of OH fluorescence at 308 -316 nm is a photomultiplier run in photon counting mode. The intensity of the fluorescent light as well as the instrument readings is directly proportional to the water vapor mixing ratio under stratospheric conditions with negligible oxygen absorption. Initially designed for rocket-borne application, FLASH has evolved into a light-weight balloon sonde (FLASH-B) for measurements in the upper troposphere and stratosphere on board meteorological and small plastic balloons. This configuration has been used in over 100 soundings at numerous tropical mid-latitude and polar locations within various international field campaigns. An airborne version of FLASH instrument is successfully utilized onboard stratospheric M55-Geophysica aircraft and tropospheric airborne laboratory YAK42-Roshydromet. The hygrometer was modified for application onboard stratospheric long-duration balloons (FLASH-LDB version). This version was successfully used onboard CNES super-pressure balloon launched from SSC Esrange in March 2007 and flown during 10 days. Special design for polar long duration balloon PoGOLite was created for testing work during polar day in June 2013. Installation and measurement peculiarities as well as observational results are presented. Observations of water vapour using FLASH-B instrument, being of high quality are rather costly as the payload recovery is often complicated and most of the time impossible. Following the goal to find a cost-efficient solution, FLASH was adapted for use onboard Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). This solution was only possible thanks to compactness and light-weight (0.5 kg) of FLASH instrument. The

  8. Roughness Estimation from Point Clouds - A Comparison of Terrestrial Laser Scanning and Image Matching by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Acquisitions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rutzinger, Martin; Bremer, Magnus; Ragg, Hansjörg

    2013-04-01

    Recently, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and matching of images acquired by unmanned arial vehicles (UAV) are operationally used for 3D geodata acquisition in Geoscience applications. However, the two systems cover different application domains in terms of acquisition conditions and data properties i.e. accuracy and line of sight. In this study we investigate the major differences between the two platforms for terrain roughness estimation. Terrain roughness is an important input for various applications such as morphometry studies, geomorphologic mapping, and natural process modeling (e.g. rockfall, avalanche, and hydraulic modeling). Data has been collected simultaneously by TLS using an Optech ILRIS3D and a rotary UAV using an octocopter from twins.nrn for a 900 m² test site located in a riverbed in Tyrol, Austria (Judenbach, Mieming). The TLS point cloud has been acquired from three scan positions. These have been registered using iterative closest point algorithm and a target-based referencing approach. For registration geometric targets (spheres) with a diameter of 20 cm were used. These targets were measured with dGPS for absolute georeferencing. The TLS point cloud has an average point density of 19,000 pts/m², which represents a point spacing of about 5 mm. 15 images where acquired by UAV in a height of 20 m using a calibrated camera with focal length of 18.3 mm. A 3D point cloud containing RGB attributes was derived using APERO/MICMAC software, by a direct georeferencing approach based on the aircraft IMU data. The point cloud is finally co-registered with the TLS data to guarantee an optimal preparation in order to perform the analysis. The UAV point cloud has an average point density of 17,500 pts/m², which represents a point spacing of 7.5 mm. After registration and georeferencing the level of detail of roughness representation in both point clouds have been compared considering elevation differences, roughness and representation of different grain

  9. Aeromagnetic Survey by Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with Magneto-Resistant Magnetometer at the northern Kalgoorlie area, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Funaki, M.; Group, A.; Milligan, P.

    2006-12-01

    We have developed the technology of small drones (unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)) and an onboard magnetometer focussed on the aeromagnetic surveys under the Ant-Plane project. We succeeded long distant flight to 500km with agnetometer by Ant-Plene4 drone collaborated with Geoscience, Australia, in March 2006. The survey was carried out in the area 10kmx10km around Mt. Vetters Station, Kalgoorlie, West Australian. The magnetic data are obtained from 41 courses (250m in interval) of EW dierction. The altitude of the flight was 900m from sea level and 500m from the runway. The Ant-Plane #4 consists of 2.6m span and 2.0m length with 2-cycles and 2-cylinder 85cc gasoline engine, GPS navigation system by microcomputer and radio telemeter system. The total weight is 25kg including 12.4 litter fuels and the coursing speed is 130. The magnetometer system consists of a 3-component magneto- resistant magnetometer (MR) sensor (Honeywell HMR2300), GPS and data logger. Three components of magnetic field, latitude, longitude, altitude, the number of satellite and time can be recorded in every second during 6 hours. The sensitivity of the magnetometer is 7 nT and we use a total magnetic field intensity for magnetic analysis due to unknown direction of heading of the plane. MR-magnetometer sensor was installed at the tip of a FRP pipe of 1m length, and the pipe was fixed to the head of the plane in order to reduce the plane magnetization. After 4 hours 14 minutes from the takeoff, the 500km flight was accomplished and the magnetic data were obtained from the data logger. The straight flight course was almost consistent with the way point course, but the course was drastically disturbed when the plane was turning. The magnetic noise level during the flight increased to 30nT, when the plane was flight in the tail wind. However, it is much higher when the plane flew in the head wind. The anomaly pattern obtained from Ant-Plane 4 was compared with the magnetic anomaly map published by

  10. Observing high flow with the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: the case study from upper Nysa Klodzka basin (SW Poland)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Witek, Matylda; Spallek, Waldemar; Slopek, Jacek; Niedzielski, Tomasz

    2015-04-01

    Recent developments of the HydroProg system (research project no. 2011/01/D/ST10/04171 of the National Science Centre of Poland), which aims to issue warnings against floods, are associated with predicting inundation, and hence there is a need for verifying the prognoses of overbank flow extent. The progress in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology causes that UAVs are now easily available and - provided formal flight requirements are fulfilled - can be used for observing numerous features of the natural environment. This intrinsically concerns hydrological applications in which dynamics is a key issue. Hence, in order to observe true extent of water during flood, UAV can be used on demand. However, unanswered is the problem of the minimum size, understood in terms of flooded area, of water increment which is detectable when inferred from the orthophoto image. The present study aims to address the above-mentioned problem by applying the small-sample statistical inference methods to a sample of nine study sites observed during five UAV observational campaigns in the vicinity of the gauge in Gorzuchow, situated along the Scinawka river (SW Poland). Since November 2012 we have carried our regular flights using the swinglet CAM fixed-wing UAV, and the areas adjacent to the gauge itself have been monitored in detail. We produced a series high-resolution orthotphoto images, corresponding to low-, normal- and high-flow situations. We sketched shapes of terrain covered by water on a basis of the detailed analysis of the ortophoto images, and the judgment was supported by our geomorphological knowledge about the channel characteristics. The resulting data were subsequently presented as percentages, and later a logarithm transformation was applied. The assumptions of Student's t-test were found to be fulfilled, and thus we used the t-test and its Bootstrap version to detect significant increments of water, inside or outside the channel. We explicitly identified the

  11. Monitoring Inflation and Emplacement During the 2014-2015 Kilauea Lava Flow With an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perroy, R. L.; Turner, N.; Hon, K. A.; Rasgado, V.

    2015-12-01

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide a powerful new tool for collecting high resolution on-demand spatial data over volcanic eruptions and other active geomorphic processes. These data can be used to improve hazard forecasts and emergency response efforts, and also allow users to economically and safely observe and quantify lava flow inflation and emplacement on spatially and temporally useful scales. We used a small fixed-wing UAV with a modified point-and-shoot camera to repeatedly map the active front of the 2014-2015 Kīlauea lava flow over a one-month period in late 2014, at times with a two-hour repeat interval. An additional subsequent flight was added in July, 2015. We used the imagery from these flights to generate a time-series of 5-cm resolution RGB and near-infrared orthoimagery mosaics and associated digital surface models using structure from motion. Survey-grade positional control was provided by ground control points with differential GPS. Two topographic transects were repeatedly surveyed across the flow surface, contemporaneously with UAV flights, to independently confirm topographic changes observed in the UAV-derived surface models. Vertical errors were generally 10 cm. Inside our 50 hectare study site, the flow advanced at a rate of 0.47 hectares/day during the first three weeks of observations before abruptly stalling out <200 m from Pahoa Village road. Over 150,000 m3of lava were added to the study site during our period of observations, with maximum vertical inflation >4 m. New outbreak areas, both on the existing flow surface and along the flow margins, were readily mapped across the study area. We detected sinuous growing inflation ridges within the flow surface that correlated with subsequent outbreaks of new lava, suggesting that repeat UAV flights can provide a means of better predicting pahoehoe lava flow behavior over flat or uneven topography. Our results show that UAVs can generate accurate and

  12. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for spatio-temporal monitoring of soil erosion and roughness in Chania, Crete, Greece

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alexakis, Dimitrios; Seiradakis, Kostas; Tsanis, Ioannis

    2016-04-01

    This article presents a remote sensing approach for spatio-temporal monitoring of both soil erosion and roughness using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Soil erosion by water is commonly known as one of the main reasons for land degradation. Gully erosion causes considerable soil loss and soil degradation. Furthermore, quantification of soil roughness (irregularities of the soil surface due to soil texture) is important and affects surface storage and infiltration. Soil roughness is one of the most susceptible to variation in time and space characteristics and depends on different parameters such as cultivation practices and soil aggregation. A UAV equipped with a digital camera was employed to monitor soil in terms of erosion and roughness in two different study areas in Chania, Crete, Greece. The UAV followed predicted flight paths computed by the relevant flight planning software. The photogrammetric image processing enabled the development of sophisticated Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) and ortho-image mosaics with very high resolution on a sub-decimeter level. The DTMs were developed using photogrammetric processing of more than 500 images acquired with the UAV from different heights above the ground level. As the geomorphic formations can be observed from above using UAVs, shadowing effects do not generally occur and the generated point clouds have very homogeneous and high point densities. The DTMs generated from UAV were compared in terms of vertical absolute accuracies with a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) survey. The developed data products were used for quantifying gully erosion and soil roughness in 3D as well as for the analysis of the surrounding areas. The significant elevation changes from multi-temporal UAV elevation data were used for estimating diachronically soil loss and sediment delivery without installing sediment traps. Concerning roughness, statistical indicators of surface elevation point measurements were estimated and various

  13. Use of a digital camera onboard an unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor spring phenology at individual tree level

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berra, Elias; Gaulton, Rachel; Barr, Stuart

    2016-04-01

    The monitoring of forest phenology, in a cost-effective manner, at a fine spatial scale and over relatively large areas remains a significant challenge. To address this issue, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) appear as a potential new option for forest phenology monitoring. The aim of this study is to assess the potential of imagery acquired from a UAV to track seasonal changes in leaf canopy at individual tree level. UAV flights, deploying consumer-grade standard and near-infrared modified cameras, were carried out over a deciduous woodland during the spring season of 2015, from which a temporal series of calibrated and georeferenced 5 cm spatial resolution orthophotos was generated. Initial results from a subset of trees are presented in this paper. Four trees with different observed Start of Season (SOS) dates were selected to monitor UAV-derived Green Chromatic Coordinate (GCC), as a measure of canopy greenness. Mean GCC values were extracted from within the four individual tree crowns and were plotted against the day of year (DOY) when the data were acquired. The temporal GCC trajectory of each tree was associated with the visual observations of leaf canopy phenology (SOS) and also with the development of understory vegetation. The chronological order when sudden increases of GCC values occurred matched with the chronological order of observed SOS: the first sudden increase in GCC was detected in the tree which first reached SOS; 18.5 days later (on average) the last sudden increase of GCC was detected in the tree which last reached SOS (18 days later than the first one). Trees with later observed SOS presented GCC values increasing slowly over time, which were associated with development of understory vegetation. Ongoing work is dealing with: 1) testing different indices; 2) radiometric calibration (retrieving of spectral reflectance); 3) expanding the analysis to more tree individuals, more tree species and over larger forest areas, and; 4) deriving

  14. Optimum Aeroelastic Design of Resonance Type Flapping Wing for Micro Air Vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Isogai, Koji; Kamisawa, Yuichi; Sato, Hiroyuki

    The optimum aeroelastic design method for a resonance-type flapping wing for a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) is presented. It uses Complex Method and 3D Navier-Stokes code to determine the optimum structural and aerodynamic parameters of a 2 DOF flapping wing system. The method is used to design a dragonfly-type MAV, and numerical simulation shows that the designed flapping wings can generate sufficient lift to sustain the weight and sufficient thrust to overcome the body drag.

  15. Ice-cored moraine degradation mapped and quantified using an unmanned aerial vehicle: A case study from a polythermal glacier in Svalbard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tonkin, T. N.; Midgley, N. G.; Cook, S. J.; Graham, D. J.

    2016-04-01

    Ice-cored lateral-frontal moraines are common at the margins of receding high-Arctic valley glaciers, but the preservation potential of these features within the landform record is unclear. Recent climatic amelioration provides an opportunity to study the morphological evolution of these landforms as they de-ice. This is important because high-Arctic glacial landsystems have been used as analogues for formerly glaciated areas in the mid-latitudes. This study uses SfM (Structure-from-Motion) photogrammetry and a combination of archive aerial and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) derived imagery to investigate the degradation of an ice-cored lateral-frontal moraine at Austre Lovénbreen, Svalbard. Across the study area as a whole, over an 11-year period, the average depth of surface lowering was - 1.75 ± 0.89 m. The frontal sections of the moraine showed low or undetectable rates of change. Spatially variable rates of surface lowering are associated with differences in the quantity of buried ice within the structure of the moraine. Morphological change was dominated by surface lowering, with limited field evidence of degradation via back-wastage. This permits the moraine a greater degree of stability than previously observed at other sites in Svalbard. It is unclear whether the end point will be a fully stabilised ice-cored moraine, in equilibrium with its environment, or an ice-free lateral-frontal moraine complex. Controls on geomorphological change (e.g. topography and climate) and the preservation potential of the lateral-frontal moraine are discussed. The methods used by this research also demonstrate the potential value of SfM photogrammetry and unmanned aerial vehicles for monitoring environmental change and are likely to have wider applications in other geoscientific sub-disciplines.

  16. Multiscale assessment of green leaf area in a semi-arid rangeland with a small unmanned aerial vehicle

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Spatial variability in green leaf cover of a western rangeland was studied by comparing field measurements on 50 m crossed transects to aerial and satellite imagery. The normalized difference vegetation index was calculated for multiple 2 cm resolution images collected over the field transects with ...

  17. Thermal Imaging of Subsurface Coal Fires by means of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in the Autonomous Province Xinjiang, PRC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vasterling, Margarete; Schloemer, Stefan; Fischer, Christian; Ehrler, Christoph

    2010-05-01

    Spontaneous combustion of coal and resulting coal fires lead to very high temperatures in the subsurface. To a large amount the heat is transferred to the surface by convective and conductive transport inducing a more or less pronounced thermal anomaly. During the past decade satellite-based infrared-imaging (ASTER, MODIS) was the method of choice for coal fire detection on a local and regional scale. However, the resolution is by far too low for a detailed analysis of single coal fires which is essential prerequisite for corrective measures (i.e. fire fighting) and calculation of carbon dioxide emission based on a complex correlation between energy release and CO2 generation. Consequently, within the framework of the Sino-German research project "Innovative Technologies for Exploration, Extinction and Monitoring of Coal Fires in Northern China", a new concept was developed and successfully tested. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was equipped with a lightweight camera for thermografic (resolution 160 by 120 pixel, dynamic range -20 to 250°C) and for visual imaging. The UAV designed as an octocopter is able to hover at GPS controlled waypoints during predefined flight missions. The application of a UAV has several advantages. Compared to point measurements on the ground the thermal imagery quickly provides the spatial distribution of the temperature anomaly with a much better resolution. Areas otherwise not accessible (due to topography, fire induced cracks, etc.) can easily be investigated. The results of areal surveys on two coal fires in Xinjiang are presented. Georeferenced thermal and visual images were mosaicked together and analyzed. UAV-born data do well compared to temperatures measured directly on the ground and cover large areas in detail. However, measuring surface temperature alone is not sufficient. Simultaneous measurements made at the surface and in roughly 15cm depth proved substantial temperature gradients in the upper soil. Thus the temperature

  18. Measuring Sunflower Nitrogen Status from AN Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Based System and AN on the Ground Device

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Agüera, F.; Carvajal, F.; Pérez, M.

    2011-09-01

    Precision agriculture recognizes the inherent spatial variability associated with soil characteristics, land morphology and crop growth, and uses this information to prescribe the most appropriate management strategy on a site-specific basis. To reach this task, the most important information related with crop growth is nutrient status, weed infestation, disease and pet affectation and water management. The application of fertilizer nitrogen to field crops is of critical importance because it determines plant's gro wth, vigour, colour and yield. Furthermore, nitrogen has been observed as a nutrient with high spatial variability in a single field, related to its high mobility. Some previous works have shown that is possible to measure crop nitrogen status with optical instruments. Since most leaf nitrogen is contained in chlorophyll molecules, there is a strong relationship between leaf nitrogen and leaf chlorophyll content, which is the basis for predicting crop nitrogen status by measuring leaf reflectance. So, sensors that can easily monitor crop nitrogen amount throughout the growing season at a high resolution to allow producers to reach their production goals, will give useful information to prescribe a crop management on a site-specific basis. Sunflower is a crop which is taking importance again because it can be used both for food and biofuel purposes, and it is widely cultivated in the South of Spain and other European countries.The aim of this work was to compare an index related with sunflower nitrogen status, deduced from multispectral images taken from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), with optical data collected with a ground-based platform.An ADC Lite Tetracam digital cam was mounted on a md4-200 Microdrones to take pictures of a sunflower field during the crop season. ADC Lite Tetracam is a single sensor digital camera designed for capture of visible light wavelength longer than 520 nm and near-infrared wavelength up to 920 nm. The md4

  19. Remote Sensing of Almond and Walnut Tree Canopy Temperatures Using an Inexpensive Infrared Sensor on a Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crawford, Kellen Ethan

    Improving water use efficiency in agriculture will become increasingly important in the face of decreasing water resources and a growing population. Increasing water use efficiency, or water productivity, has been shown to greatly reduce irrigation water usage in many orchard crops with little to no impact on yield. In some specialty crops, improving water productivity can even lead to a higher value crop. Current irrigation practices depend largely on uniform applications of water over large fields with varying degrees of heterogeneity. As a result, much of the field receives more water than it needs. A system to monitor the needs of each plant or smaller groups of plants within the field would be helpful in distributing irrigation water according to each plant or group of plants' needs. Such a system would help conserve water resources. Stomatal conductance is a good indicator of plant water-based stress, as it is the main response a plant has to limit transpiration-related water losses. The difference between leaf temperature and air temperature, when adjusted for environmental conditions, can give a good indication of stomatal conductance. Recent efforts at UC Davis have employed a handheld sensor suite to measure leaf temperature and other environmental variables like wind speed, air temperature, and humidity in almond and walnut trees. Though effective, this method requires walking or driving through the orchard and measuring several leaves on a given tree, so it is impractical for large-scale monitoring. Satellite and aircraft can measure canopy temperatures remotely, but these applications typically do not have the spatial resolution for precise monitoring or the temporal resolution necessary for irrigation decisions, and they are too expensive and impractical for smaller-scale farms. A smaller unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) could employ the same methods as satellite and larger aircraft-based systems, but relatively inexpensively and at a scale catered to

  20. Water level observations from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for improving probabilistic estimations of interaction between rivers and groundwater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bandini, Filippo; Butts, Michael; Vammen Jacobsen, Torsten; Bauer-Gottwein, Peter

    2016-04-01

    Integrated hydrological models are generally calibrated against observations of river discharge and piezometric head in groundwater aquifers. Integrated hydrological models are rarely calibrated against spatially distributed water level observations measured by either in-situ stations or spaceborne platforms. Indeed in-situ observations derived from ground-based stations are generally spaced too far apart to capture spatial patterns in the water surface. On the other hand spaceborne observations have limited spatial resolution. Additionally satellite observations have a temporal resolution which is not ideal for observing the temporal patterns of the hydrological variables during extreme events. UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) offer several advantages: i) high spatial resolution; ii) tracking of the water body better than any satellite technology; iii) timing of the sampling merely depending on the operators. In this case study the Mølleåen river (Denmark) and its catchment have been simulated through an integrated hydrological model (MIKE 11-MIKE SHE). This model was initially calibrated against observations of river discharge retrieved by in-situ stations and against piezometric head of the aquifers. Subsequently the hydrological model has been calibrated against dense spatially distributed water level observations, which could potentially be retrieved by UAVs. Error characteristics of synthetic UAV water level observations were taken from a recent proof-of-concept study. Since the technology for ranging water level is under development, UAV synthetic water level observations were extracted from another model of the river with higher spatial resolution (cross sections located every 10 m). This model with high resolution is assumed to be absolute truth for the purpose of this work. The river model with the coarser resolution has been calibrated against the synthetic water level observations through Differential Evolution Adaptive Metropolis (DREAM) algorithm, an

  1. An investigation of the accuracy of empirical aircraft design for the development of an unmanned aerial vehicle intended for liquid hydrogen fuel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaney, Christopher Scott

    A study was conducted to assess the accuracy of empirical techniques used for the calculation of flight performance for unmanned aerial vehicles. This was achieved by quantifying the error between a mathematical model developed with these techniques and experimental test data taken using an unmanned aircraft. The vehicle utilized for this study was developed at Washington State University for the purpose of flying using power derived from hydrogen stored as a cryogenic liquid. The vehicle has a mass of 32.8 kg loaded and performed a total of 14 flights under battery power for 3.58 total flight hours. Over these flights, the design proved it is capable of sustaining level flight from the power available from a PEM fuel cell propulsion system. The empirical techniques used by the model are explicitly outlined within. These yield several performance metrics that are compared to measurements taken during flight testing. Calculations of required thrust for steady flight over all airspeeds and rates of climb modeled are found to have a mean percent error of 3.2%+/-7.0% and a mean absolute percent error of 34.6%+/-5.1%. Comparison of the calculated and measured takeoff distance are made and the calculated thrust required to perform a level turn at a given rate is compared to flight test data. A section of a test flight is analyzed, over which the vehicle proves it can sustain level flight under 875 watts of electrical power. The aircraft's design is presented including the wing and tail, propulsion system, and build technique. The software and equipment used for the collection and analysis of flight data are given. Documentation and validation is provided of a unique test rig for the characterization of propeller performance using a car. The aircraft remains operational to assist with research of alternative energy propulsion systems and novel fuel storage techniques. The results from the comparison of the mathematical model and flight test data can be utilized to assist

  2. OCTAVE: a bioinspired visuo-motor control system for the guidance of micro-air-vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruffier, Franck; Franceschini, Nicolas

    2003-04-01

    We have developed a visually based autopilot for Micro Air Vehicles (MAV), which we have called OCTAVE (Optical altitude Control sysTem for Autonomous VEhicles). First we built a miniature MAV and an indoor test-bed. The mini-helicopter is tethered to a whirling arm and rotates around a central pole equipped with ground-truth positioning sensors for experimental evaluation. The 100-gram rotorcraft lifts itself by means of a single rotor that can also be tilted forward (pitch) to give the craft a horizontal thrust component (propulsive force). The helicopter"s eye is automatically oriented downwards over an environment composed of contrasting features randomly arranged on the floor. Here we show the feasibility of a ground avoiding system based on a low complexity opto-electronic system. The latter relies on an Elementary Motion Detector (EMD) that estimates the optic flow in the downward direction. The EMD functional structure is directly inspired by that of the fly"s EMDs, the functional scheme of which has been elucidated at our Laboratory by performing electrophysiological recordings while applying optical microstimuli to the retina. The OCTAVE autopilot makes the aircraft capable of effective terrain following at various speeds: the MAV performs reproducible manoeuvers such as smooth cruise flight over a planar ground and hill climbing. The overall processing electronics is very light-weight, which makes it highly suitable for mounting on-board micro air vehicles with an avionic payload in the order of only a few grams.

  3. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Tethered Balloons and U.S. Department of Energy Arm Facilities on the North Slope of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ivey, M.; Verlinde, J.

    2013-12-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through its scientific user facility, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, provides scientific infrastructure and data to the international Arctic research community via its research sites located on the North Slope of Alaska. Facilities and infrastructure to support operations of unmanned aerial systems for science missions in the Arctic and North Slope of Alaska will be established at Oliktok Point Alaska in 2013. Tethered instrumented balloons will be used to make measurements of clouds in the boundary layer including mixed-phase clouds. This poster will present information on opportunities for members of the arctic research community to make atmospheric measurements using unmanned aerial systems or tethered balloons.

  4. Utilizing adaptive wing technology in the control of a micro air vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Null, William R.; Wagner, Matthew G.; Shkarayev, Sergey V.; Jouse, Wayne C.; Brock, Keith M.

    2002-07-01

    Evolution of the design of micro air vehicles (MAVs) towards miniaturization has been severely constrained by the size and mass of the electronic components needed to control the vehicles. Recent research, experimentation, and development in the area of smart materials have led to the possibility of embedding control actuators, fabricated from smart materials, in the wing of the vehicle, reducing both the size and mass of these components. Further advantages can be realized by developing adaptive wing structures. Small size and mass, and low airspeeds, can lead to considerable buffeting during flight, and may result in a loss of flight control. In order to counter these effects, we are developing a thin, variable-cambered airfoil design with actuators embedded within the wing. In addition to reducing the mass and size of the vehicle or, conversely, increasing its available payload, an important benefit from the adaptive wing concept is the possibility of in-flight modification of the flight envelope. Reduced airspeeds, which are crucial during loiter, can be realized by an in-flight increase in wing camber. Conversely, decreases in camber provide for an airframe best suited for rapid ingress/egress and extension of the mission range.

  5. Model Update of a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Flexible Wing Frame with Uncertainty Quantification

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reaves, Mercedes C.; Horta, Lucas G.; Waszak, Martin R.; Morgan, Benjamin G.

    2004-01-01

    This paper describes a procedure to update parameters in the finite element model of a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) to improve displacement predictions under aerodynamics loads. Because of fabrication, materials, and geometric uncertainties, a statistical approach combined with Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) is used to modify key model parameters. Static test data collected using photogrammetry are used to correlate with model predictions. Results show significant improvements in model predictions after parameters are updated; however, computed probabilities values indicate low confidence in updated values and/or model structure errors. Lessons learned in the areas of wing design, test procedures, modeling approaches with geometric nonlinearities, and uncertainties quantification are all documented.

  6. The control of a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system for a small unmanned aerial vehicle using a CMAC neural network.

    PubMed

    Harmon, Frederick G; Frank, Andrew A; Joshi, Sanjay S

    2005-01-01

    A Simulink model, a propulsion energy optimization algorithm, and a CMAC controller were developed for a small parallel hybrid-electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The hybrid-electric UAV is intended for military, homeland security, and disaster-monitoring missions involving intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The Simulink model is a forward-facing simulation program used to test different control strategies. The flexible energy optimization algorithm for the propulsion system allows relative importance to be assigned between the use of gasoline, electricity, and recharging. A cerebellar model arithmetic computer (CMAC) neural network approximates the energy optimization results and is used to control the parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system. The hybrid-electric UAV with the CMAC controller uses 67.3% less energy than a two-stroke gasoline-powered UAV during a 1-h ISR mission and 37.8% less energy during a longer 3-h ISR mission. PMID:16112553

  7. Comprehensive modeling and control of flexible flapping wing micro air vehicles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nogar, Stephen Michael

    Flapping wing micro air vehicles hold significant promise due to the potential for improved aerodynamic efficiency, enhanced maneuverability and hover capability compared to fixed and rotary configurations. However, significant technical challenges exist to due the lightweight, highly integrated nature of the vehicle and coupling between the actuators, flexible wings and control system. Experimental and high fidelity analysis has demonstrated that aeroelastic effects can change the effective kinematics of the wing, reducing vehicle stability. However, many control studies for flapping wing vehicles do not consider these effects, and instead validate the control strategy with simple assumptions, including rigid wings, quasi-steady aerodynamics and no consideration of actuator dynamics. A control evaluation model that includes aeroelastic effects and actuator dynamics is developed. The structural model accounts for geometrically nonlinear behavior using an implicit condensation technique and the aerodynamic loads are found using a time accurate approach that includes quasi-steady, rotational, added mass and unsteady effects. Empirically based parameters in the model are fit using data obtained from a higher fidelity solver. The aeroelastic model and its ingredients are compared to experiments and computations using models of higher fidelity, and indicate reasonable agreement. The developed control evaluation model is implemented in a previously published, baseline controller that maintains stability using an asymmetric wingbeat, known as split-cycle, along with changing the flapping frequency and wing bias. The model-based controller determines the control inputs using a cycle-averaged, linear control design model, which assumes a rigid wing and no actuator dynamics. The introduction of unaccounted for dynamics significantly degrades the ability of the controller to track a reference trajectory, and in some cases destabilizes the vehicle. This demonstrates the

  8. Design, testing, and performance of a hybrid micro vehicle---The Hopping Rotochute

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beyer, Eric W.

    The Hopping Rotochute is a new hybrid micro vehicle that has been developed to robustly explore environments with rough terrain while minimizing energy consumption over long periods of time. The device consists of a small coaxial rotor system housed inside a lightweight cage. The vehicle traverses an area by intermittently powering a small electric motor which drives the rotor system, allowing the vehicle to hop over obstacles of various shapes and sizes. A movable internal mass controls the direction of travel while the egg-like exterior shape and low mass center allows the vehicle to passively reorient itself to an upright attitude when in contact with the ground. This dissertation presents the design, fabrication, and testing of a radio-controlled Hopping Rotochute prototype as well as an analytical study of the flight performance of the device. The conceptual design iterations are first outlined which were driven by the mission and system requirements assigned to the vehicle. The aerodynamic, mechanical, and electrical design of a prototype is then described, based on the final conceptual design, with particular emphasis on the fundamental trades that must be negotiated for this type of hopping vehicle. The fabrication and testing of this prototype is detailed as well as experimental results obtained from a motion capture system. Basic flight performance of the prototype are reported which demonstrates that the Hopping Rotochute satisfies all appointed system requirements. A dynamic model of the Hopping Rotochute is also developed in this thesis and employed to predict the flight performance of the vehicle. The dynamic model includes aerodynamic loads from the body and rotor system as well as a soft contact model to estimate the forces and moments during ground contact. The experimental methods used to estimate the dynamic model parameters are described while comparisons between measured and simulated motion are presented. Good correlation between these motions

  9. A multimodal micro air vehicle for autonomous flight in near-earth environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, William Edward

    Reconnaissance, surveillance, and search-and-rescue missions in near-Earth environments such as caves, forests, and urban areas pose many new challenges to command and control (C2) teams. Of great significance is how to acquire situational awareness when access to the scene is blocked by enemy fire, rubble, or other occlusions. Small bird-sized aerial robots are expendable and can fly over obstacles and through small openings to assist in the acquisition and distribution of intelligence. However, limited flying space and densely populated obstacle fields requires a vehicle that is capable of hovering, but also maneuverable. A secondary flight mode was incorporated into a fixed-wing aircraft to preserve its maneuverability while adding the capability of hovering. An inertial measurement sensor and onboard flight control system were interfaced and used to transition the hybrid prototype from cruise to hover flight and sustain a hover autonomously. Furthermore, the hovering flight mode can be used to maneuver the aircraft through small openings such as doorways. An ultrasonic and infrared sensor suite was designed to follow exterior building walls until an ingress route was detected. Reactive control was then used to traverse the doorway and gather reconnaissance. Entering a dangerous environment to gather intelligence autonomously will provide an invaluable resource to any C2 team. The holistic approach of platform development, sensor suite design, and control serves as the philosophy of this work.

  10. Experimental Investigation of a Shrouded Rotor Micro Air Vehicle in Hover and in Edgewise Gusts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hrishikeshavan, Vikram

    Due to the hover capability of rotary wing Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), it is of interest to improve their aerodynamic performance, and hence hover endurance (or payload capability). In this research, a shrouded rotor configuration is studied and implemented, that has the potential to offer two key operational benefits: enhanced system thrust for a given input power, and improved structural rigidity and crashworthiness of an MAV platform. The main challenges involved in realising such a system for a lightweight craft are: design of a lightweight and stiff shroud, and increased sensitivity to external flow disturbances that can affect flight stability. These key aspects are addressed and studied in order to assess the capability of the shrouded rotor as a platform of choice for MAV applications. A fully functional shrouded rotor vehicle (disk loading 60 N/ m2) was designed and constructed with key shroud design variables derived from previous studies on micro shrouded rotors. The vehicle weighed about 280 g (244 mm rotor diameter). The shrouded rotor had a 30% increase in power loading in hover compared to an unshrouded rotor. Due to the stiff, lightweight shroud construction, a net payload benefit of 20-30 g was achieved. The different components such as the rotor, stabilizer bar, yaw control vanes and the shroud were systematically studied for system efficiency and overall aerodynamic improvements. Analysis of the data showed that the chosen shroud dimensions was close to optimum for a design payload of 250 g. Risk reduction prototypes were built to sequentially arrive at the final configuration. In order to prevent periodic oscillations in ight, a hingeless rotor was incorporated in the shroud. The vehicle was successfully ight tested in hover with a proportional-integralderivative feedback controller. A flybarless rotor was incorporated for efficiency and control moment improvements. Time domain system identification of the attitude dynamics of the flybar and

  11. Aerial of the VAB

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    Even in this aerial view at KSC, the Vehicle Assembly Building is imposing. In front of it is the Launch Control Center. In the background is the Rotation/Processing Facility, next to the Banana Creek. In the foreground is the Saturn Causeway that leads to Launch Pads 39A and 39B.

  12. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Dynamic-Tracking Directional Wireless Antennas for Low Powered Applications that Require Reliable Extended Range Operations in Time Critical Scenarios

    SciTech Connect

    Scott G. Bauer; Matthew O. Anderson; James R. Hanneman

    2005-10-01

    The proven value of DOD Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will ultimately transition to National and Homeland Security missions that require real-time aerial surveillance, situation awareness, force protection, and sensor placement. Public services first responders who routinely risk personal safety to assess and report a situation for emergency actions will likely be the first to benefit from these new unmanned technologies. ‘Packable’ or ‘Portable’ small class UAVs will be particularly useful to the first responder. They require the least amount of training, no fixed infrastructure, and are capable of being launched and recovered from the point of emergency. All UAVs require wireless communication technologies for real- time applications. Typically on a small UAV, a low bandwidth telemetry link is required for command and control (C2), and systems health monitoring. If the UAV is equipped with a real-time Electro-Optical or Infrared (EO/Ir) video camera payload, a dedicated high bandwidth analog/digital link is usually required for reliable high-resolution imagery. In most cases, both the wireless telemetry and real-time video links will be integrated into the UAV with unity gain omni-directional antennas. With limited on-board power and payload capacity, a small UAV will be limited with the amount of radio-frequency (RF) energy it transmits to the users. Therefore, ‘packable’ and ‘portable’ UAVs will have limited useful operational ranges for first responders. This paper will discuss the limitations of small UAV wireless communications. The discussion will present an approach of utilizing a dynamic ground based real-time tracking high gain directional antenna to provide extend range stand-off operation, potential RF channel reuse, and assured telemetry and data communications from low-powered UAV deployed wireless assets.

  13. The development of an experimental facility and investigation of rapidly maneuvering Micro-Air-Vehicle wings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Lee Alexander

    Vertical Takeoff-and-Landing (VTOL) Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) provide a versatile operational platform which combines the capabilities of fixed wing and rotary wing MAVs. In order to improve performance of these vehicles, a better understanding of the rapid transition between horizontal and vertical flight is required. This study examines the flow structures around the Mini-Vertigo VTOL MAV using flow visualization techniques. This will gives an understanding of the flow structures which dominate the flight dynamics of rapid pitching maneuvers. This study consists of three objectives: develop an experimental facility, use flow visualization to investigate the flow around the experimental subject during pitching, and analyze the results. The flow around the Mini-Vertigo VTOL MAV is dominated by the slipstream from its propellers. The slipstream delays LE separation and causes drastic deflection in the flow. While the frequency of the vortices shed from the LE and TE varies with flow speed, the non-dimensional frequency does not. It does, however, vary slightly with the pitching rate. These results are applicable across a wide range of flight conditions. The results correlate to previous research done to examine the aerodynamic forces on the MAV.

  14. 4D metrology of flapping-wing micro air vehicle based on fringe projection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Qican; Huang, Lei; Chin, Yao-Wei; Keong, Lau-Gih; Asundi, Anand

    2013-06-01

    Inspired by dominant flight of the natural flyers and driven by civilian and military purposes, micro air vehicle (MAV) has been developed so far by passive wing control but still pales in aerodynamic performance. Better understanding of flapping wing flight mechanism is eager to improve MAV's flight performance. In this paper, a simple and effective 4D metrology technique to measure full-field deformation of flapping membrane wing is presented. Based on fringe projection and 3D Fourier analysis, the fast and complex dynamic deformation, including wing rotation and wing stroke, of a flapping wing during its flight can be accurately reconstructed from the deformed fringe patterns recorded by a highspeed camera. An experiment was carried on a flapping-wing MAV with 5-cm span membrane wing beating at 30 Hz, and the results show that this method is effective and will be useful to the aerodynamicist or micro aircraft designer for visualizing high-speed complex wing deformation and consequently aid the design of flapping wing mechanism to enhanced aerodynamic performance.

  15. Multi-terminal remote monitoring and warning system using Micro Air Vehicle for dangerous environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yu, Yanan; Wang, Xiaoxun; He, Chengcheng; Lai, Chenlong; Liu, Yuanchao

    2015-11-01

    For overcoming the problems such as remote operation and dangerous tasks, multi-terminal remote monitoring and warning system based on STC89C52 Micro Control Unit and wireless communication technique was proposed. The system with MCU as its core adopted multiple sets of sensor device to monitor environment parameters of different locations, such as temperature, humidity, smoke other harmful gas concentration. Data information collected was transmitted remotely by wireless transceiver module, and then multi-channel data parameter was processed and displayed through serial communication protocol between the module and PC. The results of system could be checked in the form of web pages within a local network which plays a wireless monitoring and warning role. In a remote operation, four-rotor micro air vehicle which fixed airborne data acquisition device was utilized as a middleware between collecting terminal and PC to increase monitoring scope. Whole test system has characteristics of simple construction, convenience, real time ability and high reliability, which could meet the requirements of actual use.

  16. GreenHouse Observations of the Stratosphere and Troposphere (GHOST): a novel shortwave infrared spectrometer developed for the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Humpage, Neil; Bösch, Hartmut; Palmer, Paul I.; Parr-Burman, Phil M.; Vick, Andrew J. A.; Bezawada, Naidu N.; Black, Martin; Born, Andrew J.; Pearson, David; Strachan, Jonathan; Wells, Martyn

    2014-10-01

    The tropospheric distribution of greenhouse gases (GHGs) depends on surface flux variations, atmospheric chemistry and transport processes over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Accurate and precise atmospheric concentration observations of GHGs can be used to infer surface flux estimates, though their interpretation relies on unbiased atmospheric transport models. GHOST is a novel, compact shortwave infrared spectrometer which will observe tropospheric columns of CO2, CO, CH4 and H2O (along with the HDO/H2O ratio) during deployment on board the NASA Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. The primary science objectives of GHOST are to: 1) test atmospheric transport models; 2) evaluate satellite observations of GHG column observations over oceans; and 3) complement in-situ tropopause transition layer observations from other Global Hawk instruments. GHOST comprises a target acquisition module (TAM), a fibre slicer and feed system, and a multiple order spectrograph. The TAM is programmed to direct solar radiation reflected by the ocean surface into a fibre optic bundle. Incoming light is then split into four spectral bands, selected to optimise remote observations of GHGs. The design uses a single grating and detector for all four spectral bands. We summarise the GHOST concept and its objectives, and describe the instrument design and proposed deployment aboard the Global Hawk platform.

  17. Inversion of the PROSAIL model to estimate leaf area index of maize, potato, and sunflower fields from unmanned aerial vehicle hyperspectral data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duan, Si-Bo; Li, Zhao-Liang; Wu, Hua; Tang, Bo-Hui; Ma, Lingling; Zhao, Enyu; Li, Chuanrong

    2014-02-01

    Leaf area index (LAI) is a key variable for modeling energy and mass exchange between the land surface and the atmosphere. Inversion of physically based radiative transfer models is the most established technique for estimating LAI from remotely sensed data. This study aims to evaluate the suitability of the PROSAIL model for LAI estimation of three typical row crops (maize, potato, and sunflower) from unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hyperspectral data. LAI was estimated using a look-up table (LUT) based on the inversion of the PROSAIL model. The estimated LAI was evaluated against in situ LAI measurements. The results indicated that the LUT-based inversion of the PROSAIL model was suitable for LAI estimation of these three crops, with a root mean square error (RMSE) of approximately 0.62 m2 m-2, and a relative RMSE (RRMSE) of approximately 15.5%. Dual-angle observations were also used to estimate LAI and proved to be more accurate than single-angle observations, with an RMSE of approximately 0.55 m2 m-2 and an RRMSE of approximately 13.6%. The results demonstrate that additional directional information improves the performance of LAI estimation.

  18. Automatic identification of agricultural terraces through object-oriented analysis of very high resolution DSMs and multispectral imagery obtained from an unmanned aerial vehicle.

    PubMed

    Diaz-Varela, R A; Zarco-Tejada, P J; Angileri, V; Loudjani, P

    2014-02-15

    Agricultural terraces are features that provide a number of ecosystem services. As a result, their maintenance is supported by measures established by the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In the framework of CAP implementation and monitoring, there is a current and future need for the development of robust, repeatable and cost-effective methodologies for the automatic identification and monitoring of these features at farm scale. This is a complex task, particularly when terraces are associated to complex vegetation cover patterns, as happens with permanent crops (e.g. olive trees). In this study we present a novel methodology for automatic and cost-efficient identification of terraces using only imagery from commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) cameras on board unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Using state-of-the-art computer vision techniques, we generated orthoimagery and digital surface models (DSMs) at 11 cm spatial resolution with low user intervention. In a second stage, these data were used to identify terraces using a multi-scale object-oriented classification method. Results show the potential of this method even in highly complex agricultural areas, both regarding DSM reconstruction and image classification. The UAV-derived DSM had a root mean square error (RMSE) lower than 0.5 m when the height of the terraces was assessed against field GPS data. The subsequent automated terrace classification yielded an overall accuracy of 90% based exclusively on spectral and elevation data derived from the UAV imagery. PMID:24473345

  19. Review of Lead-Zinc Mining Impact on Landscape in the Tri-State Mining District using Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhakta, K. D.; Yeboah-Forson, A.

    2015-12-01

    The Tri-State lead and zinc mining district in SW Missouri, SE Kansas, and NE Oklahoma encompasses nearly 2,500 sq. miles of land and at its peak accounted for half of the US zinc (23,000,000 tons) production that surpassed one billion dollars in economic value. Once these lead and zinc rich ores were extracted, mining and milling sites were abandoned leaving behind a new landscape with numerous environmental challenges. Since 1970, most of the sites have been targeted for remediation and reclamation by federal and state agencies including the EPA. In order to capture the full extent of the impact of lead and zinc mining in the Tri-State area, numerous geoscientific approaches including data from small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) were employed to investigate the influence of mining in the study area. The study presented here is focused on observational assessment of the existing landscape using multiple commercial high-definitions data from UAVs to study different sites across areas of concern in the three states. Primary results (images) gathered and analyzed DEM and GIS data from abandoned mines showed the potential to provide a quick snapshot of successful or unsuccessful remediated areas. Although research and remediation of the Tri-State mining district are a continuous process, evidence from this geomorphic study suggest that UAVs can provide a quick overview of the remediated landscape or serve as a primary background tool for a more detail site-specific environmental study.

  20. Training set size, scale, and features in Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis of very high resolution unmanned aerial vehicle imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Lei; Cheng, Liang; Li, Manchun; Liu, Yongxue; Ma, Xiaoxue

    2015-04-01

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has been used increasingly for natural resource applications in recent years due to their greater availability and the miniaturization of sensors. In addition, Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA) has received more attention as a novel paradigm for remote sensing earth observation data. However, GEOBIA generates some new problems compared with pixel-based methods. In this study, we developed a strategy for the semi-automatic optimization of object-based classification, which involves an area-based accuracy assessment that analyzes the relationship between scale and the training set size. We found that the Overall Accuracy (OA) increased as the training set ratio (proportion of the segmented objects used for training) increased when the Segmentation Scale Parameter (SSP) was fixed. The OA increased more slowly as the training set ratio became larger and a similar rule was obtained according to the pixel-based image analysis. The OA decreased as the SSP increased when the training set ratio was fixed. Consequently, the SSP should not be too large during classification using a small training set ratio. By contrast, a large training set ratio is required if classification is performed using a high SSP. In addition, we suggest that the optimal SSP for each class has a high positive correlation with the mean area obtained by manual interpretation, which can be summarized by a linear correlation equation. We expect that these results will be applicable to UAV imagery classification to determine the optimal SSP for each class.

  1. [Retrieval of crown closure of moso bamboo forest using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remotely sensed imagery based on geometric-optical model].

    PubMed

    Wang, Cong; Du, Hua-qiang; Zhou, Guo-mo; Xu, Xiao-jun; Sun, Shao-bo; Gao, Guo-long

    2015-05-01

    This research focused on the application of remotely sensed imagery