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!
Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University
TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy