While unmanned systems currently rely on the automation of low-level functions, such as navigation, stabilization and trajectory, operating these systems is still quite labor-intensive for Air Force pilots given the variable flying conditions experienced by UAVs.
The BU team, led by Dr. David Castañón and Dr. Christos Cassandras, has focused their work on optimizing "mission control," which describes mid-level control approaches that go beyond simply improving stability and tracking trajectories.
"We were interested in automating functions such as partitioning of tasks among members of teams of UAVs,...monitoring the success of the individual activities, and re-planning to accommodate contingencies or failures in executing the planned tasks," explained Castañón.
Automating these functions would let UAVs adapt their actions more rapidly in response to unforeseen events and ultimately require less human supervision.
To date, the team has developed mathematical algorithms that can make nearly optimal decisions under realistic model conditions. Their approach thus far has been based on the need to account for a number of uncertainties requiring complex computations nearly impossible to implement in real-time systems.
"Our research approach has been to exploit classes of models for which fast algorithms can be developed and to extend these algorithms to generate decisions in more complex models that capture the relevant features of the UAV problems of interest," said Castañón.
While much of Cassandras and Castañón's research is based on mathematical analysis, they have also developed a robotics test scenario for evaluating their approach. Both graduate and undergraduate students at BU are involved in this testing, which uses teams of small robots equipped with sensors to represent the UAVs. In these tests, the robots have to function in a mid-level control environment while being distracted by unforeseen events such as loss of team members, arrival of new tasks and discovery of new information.
As the BU team learns more about the environments in which UAVs operate, they will continue to hone their results, with the long-term goal of increasing the level of self-sufficiency available to future Air Force UAV fleets.
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), located in Arlington, Virginia, continues to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through its leadership and management of the Air Force's basic research program. As a vital component of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AFOSR's mission is to discover, shape and champion basic science that profoundly impacts the future Air Force.
Molly Lachance | EurekAlert!
Waste from paper and pulp industry supplies raw material for development of new redox flow batteries
12.10.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Low-cost battery from waste graphite
11.10.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Life Sciences
17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences