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!
A big nano boost for solar cells
18.01.2017 | Kyoto University and Osaka Gas effort doubles current efficiencies
Multiregional brain on a chip
16.01.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences