An autonomous computer framework that will enable aerial vehicles to plan and verify missions, reducing the need for military personnel to conduct dangerous surveillance operations in war zones, has been developed by Cranfield University in the UK.
University scientists based at the UK Defence Academy developed the project as part of the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) research project.
The computer framework is specifically designed for use in multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (MUAVs) and enables the operator to control a number of vehicles from a safe position on the ground.
Defence scenarios involving multiple unmanned vehicles allow the military to continue the mission in the event that one vehicle is lost in action.
The UAV operator will use the framework technology to programme a mission objective and authorise the fleet of vehicles to elect the most efficient way to accomplish the mission.
The framework manages each vehicle's functions including navigation, guidance, path planning and decision making through a series of control algorithms and ensures the vehicles avoid colliding with one another or other objects.
Principal researcher professor Antonios Tsourdos said that missions sometimes had to be abandoned due to poor weather or on safety grounds, but unmanned vehicles could be used in more challenging situations and provide real-time feedback on current conditions.