Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis and Optimization of the Coanda Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platform

It is known that using Coanda aerosurfaces can drastically augment the lift forces when applied to an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platform. However, Coanda saucer UAVs, which commonly use a dish-like, radially-extending structure, have shown no significant increases in thrust/lift force and therefore have never been commercially successful: the additional thrust/lift generated by the Coanda surface diminishes since the airstreams emerging from the rotor compartment expand radially causing serious loss of momentums and therefore a net loss of total thrust/lift. To overcome this technical weakness, we propose to examine a Coanda surface of straight, cylindrical design and optimize its geometry for highest thrust/lift utilizing computational fluid dynamics software ANSYS Fluent®. The results of this study reveal that a Coanda UAV configured with 4 sides of straight, cylindrical Coanda surface achieve an overall 45% increase in lift compared to conventional Coanda Saucer UAV configurations. This venture integrates with an ongoing research project where a Coanda prototype is being assembled. Additionally, a custom thrust-stand has been constructed for thrust/lift measurement.

Application of UAS in Forest Firefighting for Detecting Ignitions and 3D Fuel Volume Estimation

The article presents results from the AF3 project “Advanced Forest Fire Fighting” focused on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)-based 3D surveillance and 3D area mapping using high-resolution photogrammetric methods from multispectral imaging, also taking advantage of the 3D scanning techniques from the SCAN4RECO project. We also present a proprietary embedded sensor system used for the detection of fire ignitions in the forest using near-infrared based scanner with weight and form factors allowing it to be easily deployed on standard commercial micro-UAVs, such as DJI Inspire or Mavic. Results from real-life pilot trials in Greece, Spain, and Israel demonstrated added-value in the use of UAS for precise and reliable detection of forest fires, as well as high-resolution 3D aerial modeling for accurate quantification of human resources and equipment required for firefighting.

Probabilistic Approach of Dealing with Uncertainties in Distributed Constraint Optimization Problems and Situation Awareness for Multi-agent Systems

In this paper, we describe how Bayesian inferential reasoning will contributes in obtaining a well-satisfied prediction for Distributed Constraint Optimization Problems (DCOPs) with uncertainties. We also demonstrate how DCOPs could be merged to multi-agent knowledge understand and prediction (i.e. Situation Awareness). The DCOPs functions were merged with Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) in the form of situation, awareness, and utility nodes. We describe how the uncertainties can be represented to the BBN and make an effective prediction using the expectation-maximization algorithm or conjugate gradient descent algorithm. The idea of variable prediction using Bayesian inference may reduce the number of variables in agents’ sampling domain and also allow missing variables estimations. Experiment results proved that the BBN perform compelling predictions with samples containing uncertainties than the perfect samples. That is, Bayesian inference can help in handling uncertainties and dynamism of DCOPs, which is the current issue in the DCOPs community. We show how Bayesian inference could be formalized with Distributed Situation Awareness (DSA) using uncertain and missing agents’ data. The whole framework was tested on multi-UAV mission for forest fire searching. Future work focuses on augmenting existing architecture to deal with dynamic DCOPs algorithms and multi-agent information merging.

Multi-Agent Searching Adaptation Using Levy Flight and Inferential Reasoning

In this paper, we describe how to achieve knowledge understanding and prediction (Situation Awareness (SA)) for multiple-agents conducting searching activity using Bayesian inferential reasoning and learning. Bayesian Belief Network was used to monitor agents' knowledge about their environment, and cases are recorded for the network training using expectation-maximisation or gradient descent algorithm. The well trained network will be used for decision making and environmental situation prediction. Forest fire searching by multiple UAVs was the use case. UAVs are tasked to explore a forest and find a fire for urgent actions by the fire wardens. The paper focused on two problems: (i) effective agents’ path planning strategy and (ii) knowledge understanding and prediction (SA). The path planning problem by inspiring animal mode of foraging using Lévy distribution augmented with Bayesian reasoning was fully described in this paper. Results proof that the Lévy flight strategy performs better than the previous fixed-pattern (e.g., parallel sweeps) approaches in terms of energy and time utilisation. We also introduced a waypoint assessment strategy called k-previous waypoints assessment. It improves the performance of the ordinary levy flight by saving agent’s resources and mission time through redundant search avoidance. The agents (UAVs) are to report their mission knowledge at the central server for interpretation and prediction purposes. Bayesian reasoning and learning were used for the SA and results proof effectiveness in different environments scenario in terms of prediction and effective knowledge representation. The prediction accuracy was measured using learning error rate, logarithm loss, and Brier score and the result proves that little agents mission that can be used for prediction within the same or different environment. Finally, we described a situation-based knowledge visualization and prediction technique for heterogeneous multi-UAV mission. While this paper proves linkage of Bayesian reasoning and learning with SA and effective searching strategy, future works is focusing on simplifying the architecture.

Effect of Wavy Leading-Edges on Wings in Different Planetary Atmospheres

Today we are unmarking the secrets of the universe by exploring different stars and planets and most of the space exploration is done by unmanned space robots. In addition to our planet Earth, there are pieces of evidence that show other astronomical objects in our solar system such as Venus, Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan and Uranus support the flight of fixed wing air vehicles. In this paper, we take forward the concept of presence of large rounded tubercles along the leading edge of a wing and use it as a passive flow control device that will help in improving its aerodynamic performance and maneuverability. Furthermore, in this research, aerodynamic measurements and performance analysis of wavy leading tubercles on the fixed wings at 5-degree angle of attack are carried out after determination of the flow conditions on the selected planetary bodies. Wavelength and amplitude for the sinusoidal modifications on the leading edge are analyzed and simulations are carried out for three-dimensional NACA 0012 airfoil maintaining unity AR (Aspect Ratio). Tubercles have consistently demonstrated the ability to delay and decrease the severity of stall as per the studies were done in the Earth’s atmosphere. Implementing the same design on the leading edges of Micro-Air Vehicles (MAVs) and UAVs could make these aircrafts more stable over a greater range of angles of attack in different planetary environments of our solar system.

Real-Time Episodic Memory Construction for Optimal Action Selection in Cognitive Robotics

The three most important components in the cognitive architecture for cognitive robotics is memory representation, memory recall, and action-selection performed by the executive. In this paper, action selection, performed by the executive, is defined as a memory quantification and optimization process. The methodology describes the real-time construction of episodic memory through semantic memory optimization. The optimization is performed by set-based particle swarm optimization, using an adaptive entropy memory quantification approach for fitness evaluation. The performance of the approach is experimentally evaluated by simulation, where a UAV is tasked with the collection and delivery of a medical package. The experiments show that the UAV dynamically uses the episodic memory to autonomously control its velocity, while successfully completing its mission.

Construction of Large Scale UAVs Using Homebuilt Composite Techniques

The unmanned aerial system (UAS) industry is growing at a rapid pace. This growth has increased the demand for low cost, custom made and high strength unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The area of most growth is in the area of 25 kg to 200 kg vehicles. Vehicles this size are beyond the size and scope of simple wood and fabric designs commonly found in hobbyist aircraft. These high end vehicles require stronger materials to complete their mission. Traditional aircraft construction materials such as aluminum are difficult to use without machining or advanced computer controlled tooling. However, by using general aviation composite aircraft homebuilding techniques and materials, a large scale UAV can be constructed cheaply and easily. Furthermore, these techniques could be used to easily manufacture cost made composite shapes and airfoils that would be cost prohibitive when using metals. These homebuilt aircraft techniques are being demonstrated by the researchers in the construction of a 75 kg aircraft.

Impact of Social Media on the Functioning of the Indian Government: A Critical Analysis

Social media has loomed as the most effective tool in recent times to flag the causes, contents, opinions and direction of any social movement and has demonstrated that it will have a far-reaching effect on government as well. This study focuses on India which has emerged as the fastest growing community on social media. Social movement activists, in particular, have extensively utilized the power of digital social media to streamline the effectiveness of social protest on a particular issue through extensive successful mass mobilizations. This research analyses the role and impact of social media as a power to catalyze the social movements in India and further seeks to describe how certain social movements are resisted, subverted, co-opted and/or deployed by social media. The impact assessment study has been made with the help of cases, policies and some social movement which India has witnessed the assertion of numerous social issues perturbing the public which eventually paved the way for remarkable judicial decisions. The paper concludes with the observations that despite its pros and cons, the impacts of social media on the functioning of the Indian Government have demonstrated that it has already become an indispensable tool in the hands of social media-suave Indians who are committed to bring about a desired change.

Applications of Drones in Infrastructures: Challenges and Opportunities

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also referred to as drones, equipped with various kinds of advanced detecting or surveying systems, are effective and low-cost in data acquisition, data delivery and sharing, which can benefit the building of infrastructures. This paper will give an overview of applications of drones in planning, designing, construction and maintenance of infrastructures. The drone platform, detecting and surveying systems, and post-data processing systems will be introduced, followed by cases with details of the applications. Challenges from different aspects will be addressed. Opportunities of drones in infrastructure include but not limited to the following. Firstly, UAVs equipped with high definition cameras or other detecting equipment are capable of inspecting the hard to reach infrastructure assets. Secondly, UAVs can be used as effective tools to survey and map the landscape to collect necessary information before infrastructure construction. Furthermore, an UAV or multi-UVAs are useful in construction management. UVAs can also be used in collecting roads and building information by taking high-resolution photos for future infrastructure planning. UAVs can be used to provide reliable and dynamic traffic information, which is potentially helpful in building smart cities. The main challenges are: limited flight time, the robustness of signal, post data analyze, multi-drone collaboration, weather condition, distractions to the traffic caused by drones. This paper aims to help owners, designers, engineers and architects to improve the building process of infrastructures for higher efficiency and better performance.

Linear Quadratic Gaussian/Loop Transfer Recover Control Flight Control on a Nonlinear Model

As part of the development of a 4D autopilot system for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), i.e. a time-dependent robust trajectory generation and control algorithm, this work addresses the problem of optimal path control based on the flight sensors data output that may be unreliable due to noise on data acquisition and/or transmission under certain circumstances. Although several filtering methods, such as the Kalman-Bucy filter or the Linear Quadratic Gaussian/Loop Transfer Recover Control (LQG/LTR), are available, the utter complexity of the control system, together with the robustness and reliability required of such a system on a UAV for airworthiness certifiable autonomous flight, required the development of a proper robust filter for a nonlinear system, as a way of further mitigate errors propagation to the control system and improve its ,performance. As such, a nonlinear algorithm based upon the LQG/LTR, is validated through computational simulation testing, is proposed on this paper.

Study on Wireless Transmission for Reconnaissance UAV with Wireless Sensor Network and Cylindrical Array of Microstrip Antennas

It is important for a commander to have real-time information to aware situations and to make decision in the battlefield. Results of modern technique developments have brought in this kind of information for military purposes. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is one of the means to gather intelligence owing to its widespread applications. It is still not clear whether or not the mini UAV with short-range wireless transmission system is used as a reconnaissance system in Taiwanese. In this paper, previous experience on the research of the sort of aerial vehicles has been applied with a data-relay system using the ZigBee modulus. The mini UAV developed is expected to be able to collect certain data in some appropriate theaters. The omni-directional antenna with high gain is also integrated into mini UAV to fit the size-reducing trend of airborne sensors. Two advantages are so far obvious. First, mini UAV can fly higher than usual to avoid being attacked from ground fires. Second, the data will be almost gathered during all maneuvering attitudes.

Comparison of Data Reduction Algorithms for Image-Based Point Cloud Derived Digital Terrain Models

Digital Terrain Model (DTM) is a digital numerical representation of the Earth's surface. DTMs have been applied to a diverse field of tasks, such as urban planning, military, glacier mapping, disaster management. In the expression of the Earth' surface as a mathematical model, an infinite number of point measurements are needed. Because of the impossibility of this case, the points at regular intervals are measured to characterize the Earth's surface and DTM of the Earth is generated. Hitherto, the classical measurement techniques and photogrammetry method have widespread use in the construction of DTM. At present, RADAR, LiDAR, and stereo satellite images are also used for the construction of DTM. In recent years, especially because of its superiorities, Airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) has an increased use in DTM applications. A 3D point cloud is created with LiDAR technology by obtaining numerous point data. However recently, by the development in image mapping methods, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for photogrammetric data acquisition has increased DTM generation from image-based point cloud. The accuracy of the DTM depends on various factors such as data collection method, the distribution of elevation points, the point density, properties of the surface and interpolation methods. In this study, the random data reduction method is compared for DTMs generated from image based point cloud data. The original image based point cloud data set (100%) is reduced to a series of subsets by using random algorithm, representing the 75, 50, 25 and 5% of the original image based point cloud data set. Over the ANS campus of Afyon Kocatepe University as the test area, DTM constructed from the original image based point cloud data set is compared with DTMs interpolated from reduced data sets by Kriging interpolation method. The results show that the random data reduction method can be used to reduce the image based point cloud datasets to 50% density level while still maintaining the quality of DTM.

A Centralized Architecture for Cooperative Air-Sea Vehicles Using UAV-USV

This paper deals with the problem of monitoring and cleaning dirty zones of oceans using unmanned vehicles. We present a centralized cooperative architecture for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor ocean regions and clean dirty zones with the help of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs). Due to the rapid deployment of these unmanned vehicles, it is convenient to use them in oceanic regions where the water pollution zones are generally unknown. In order to optimize this process, our solution aims to detect and reduce the pollution level of the ocean zones while taking into account the problem of fault tolerance related to these vehicles.

Vision-Based Collision Avoidance for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Recurrent Neural Networks

Due to the sensor technology, video surveillance has become the main way for security control in every big city in the world. Surveillance is usually used by governments for intelligence gathering, the prevention of crime, the protection of a process, person, group or object, or the investigation of crime. Many surveillance systems based on computer vision technology have been developed in recent years. Moving target tracking is the most common task for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to find and track objects of interest in mobile aerial surveillance for civilian applications. The paper is focused on vision-based collision avoidance for UAVs by recurrent neural networks. First, images from cameras on UAV were fused based on deep convolutional neural network. Then, a recurrent neural network was constructed to obtain high-level image features for object tracking and extracting low-level image features for noise reducing. The system distributed the calculation of the whole system to local and cloud platform to efficiently perform object detection, tracking and collision avoidance based on multiple UAVs. The experiments on several challenging datasets showed that the proposed algorithm outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.

Automated, Objective Assessment of Pilot Performance in Simulated Environment

Nowadays flight simulators offer tremendous possibilities for safe and cost-effective pilot training, by utilization of powerful, computational tools. Due to technology outpacing methodology, vast majority of training related work is done by human instructors. It makes assessment not efficient, and vulnerable to instructors’ subjectivity. The research presents an Objective Assessment Tool (gOAT) developed at the Warsaw University of Technology, and tested on SW-4 helicopter flight simulator. The tool uses database of the predefined manoeuvres, defined and integrated to the virtual environment. These were implemented, basing on Aeronautical Design Standard Performance Specification Handling Qualities Requirements for Military Rotorcraft (ADS-33), with predefined Mission-Task-Elements (MTEs). The core element of the gOAT enhanced algorithm that provides instructor a new set of information. In details, a set of objective flight parameters fused with report about psychophysical state of the pilot. While the pilot performs the task, the gOAT system automatically calculates performance using the embedded algorithms, data registered by the simulator software (position, orientation, velocity, etc.), as well as measurements of physiological changes of pilot’s psychophysiological state (temperature, sweating, heart rate). Complete set of measurements is presented on-line to instructor’s station and shown in dedicated graphical interface. The presented tool is based on open source solutions, and flexible for editing. Additional manoeuvres can be easily added using guide developed by authors, and MTEs can be changed by instructor even during an exercise. Algorithm and measurements used allow not only to implement basic stress level measurements, but also to reduce instructor’s workload significantly. Tool developed can be used for training purpose, as well as periodical checks of the aircrew. Flexibility and ease of modifications allow the further development to be wide ranged, and the tool to be customized. Depending on simulation purpose, gOAT can be adjusted to support simulator of aircraft, helicopter, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Map Matching Performance under Various Similarity Metrics for Heterogeneous Robot Teams

Aerial and ground robots have various advantages of usage in different missions. Aerial robots can move quickly and get a different sight of view of the area, but those vehicles cannot carry heavy payloads. On the other hand, unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) are slow moving vehicles, since those can carry heavier payloads than unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In this context, we investigate the performances of various Similarity Metrics to provide a common map for Heterogeneous Robot Team (HRT) in complex environments. Within the usage of Lidar Odometry and Octree Mapping technique, the local 3D maps of the environment are gathered.  In order to obtain a common map for HRT, informative theoretic similarity metrics are exploited. All types of these similarity metrics gave adequate as allowable simulation time and accurate results that can be used in different types of applications. For the heterogeneous multi robot team, those methods can be used to match different types of maps.

Quantification of Aerodynamic Variables Using Analytical Technique and Computational Fluid Dynamics

Aerodynamic stability coefficients are necessary to be known before any unmanned aircraft flight is performed. This requires expertise on aerodynamics and stability control of the aircraft. To enable efficacious performance of aircraft requires that a well-defined flight path and aerodynamics should be defined beforehand. This paper presents a study on the aerodynamics of an unmanned aero vehicle (UAV) during flight conditions. Current research holds comparative studies of different parameters for flight aerodynamic, measured using two different open source analytical software programs. These software packages are DATCOM and XLRF5, which help in depicting the flight aerodynamic variables. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was also used to perform aerodynamic analysis for which Star CCM+ was used. Output trends of the study demonstrate high accuracies between the two software programs with that of CFD. It can be seen that the Coefficient of Lift (CL) obtained from DATCOM and XFLR is similar to CL of CFD simulation. In the similar manner, other potential aerodynamic stability parameters obtained from analytical software are in good agreement with CFD.

Structural Analysis of an Active Morphing Wing for Enhancing UAV Performance

A numerical study of a design concept for actively controlling wing twist is described in this paper. The concept consists of morphing elements which were designed to provide a rigid and seamless skin while maintaining structural rigidity. The wing structure is first modeled in CATIA V5 then imported into ANSYS for structural analysis. Athena Vortex Lattice method (AVL) is used to estimate aerodynamic response as well as aerodynamic loads of morphing wings, afterwards a structural optimization performed via ANSYS Static. Overall, the results presented in this paper show that the concept provides efficient wing twist while preserving an aerodynamically smooth and compliant surface. Sufficient structural rigidity in bending is also obtained. This concept is suggested as a possible alternative for morphing skin applications. 

Application of Rapidly Exploring Random Tree Star-Smart and G2 Quintic Pythagorean Hodograph Curves to the UAV Path Planning Problem

This work approaches the automatic planning of paths for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) through the application of the Rapidly Exploring Random Tree Star-Smart (RRT*-Smart) algorithm. RRT*-Smart is a sampling process of positions of a navigation environment through a tree-type graph. The algorithm consists of randomly expanding a tree from an initial position (root node) until one of its branches reaches the final position of the path to be planned. The algorithm ensures the planning of the shortest path, considering the number of iterations tending to infinity. When a new node is inserted into the tree, each neighbor node of the new node is connected to it, if and only if the extension of the path between the root node and that neighbor node, with this new connection, is less than the current extension of the path between those two nodes. RRT*-smart uses an intelligent sampling strategy to plan less extensive routes by spending a smaller number of iterations. This strategy is based on the creation of samples/nodes near to the convex vertices of the navigation environment obstacles. The planned paths are smoothed through the application of the method called quintic pythagorean hodograph curves. The smoothing process converts a route into a dynamically-viable one based on the kinematic constraints of the vehicle. This smoothing method models the hodograph components of a curve with polynomials that obey the Pythagorean Theorem. Its advantage is that the obtained structure allows computation of the curve length in an exact way, without the need for quadratural techniques for the resolution of integrals.

Study on Construction of 3D Topography by UAV-Based Images

In this paper, a method of fast 3D topography modeling using the high-resolution camera images is studied based on the characteristics of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system for low altitude aerial photogrammetry and the need of three dimensional (3D) urban landscape modeling. Firstly, the existing high-resolution digital camera with special design of overlap images is designed by reconstructing and analyzing the auto-flying paths of UAVs, which improves the self-calibration function to achieve the high precision imaging by software, and further increased the resolution of the imaging system. Secondly, several-angle images including vertical images and oblique images gotten by the UAV system are used for the detail measure of urban land surfaces and the texture extraction. Finally, the aerial photography and 3D topography construction are both developed in campus of Chang-Jung University and in Guerin district area in Tainan, Taiwan, provide authentication model for construction of 3D topography based on combined UAV-based camera images from system. The results demonstrated that the UAV system for low altitude aerial photogrammetry can be used in the construction of 3D topography production, and the technology solution in this paper offers a new, fast, and technical plan for the 3D expression of the city landscape, fine modeling and visualization.