Developing an unmanned aircraft system for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissace (isr) missions




НазваDeveloping an unmanned aircraft system for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissace (isr) missions
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https://eim.usafa.edu/program/uas/usafa%20uas%20patch%20.jpg

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE

COMMANDANT OF CADETS

US AIR FORCE ACADEMY



DEVELOPING AN UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM FOR INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE, AND RECONNAISSACE (ISR) MISSIONS


United States Air Force Academy UAS Research

Team:C1C Keil Bartholomew, C1C Matthew Bender, C1C Neil Delaney, C1C Emily Fisher, C1C Kyle Moses, C1C Andrew Sainsbury, C1C Bradley Sapper, C1C Vai Schierholtz, C1C Frank Schmidt, C1C Taylor Soster, C1C Brain Wilson, C2C Tristan Latchu, C2C Clifford Peterson, C2C John Welch, and C1C Russell Wilson


5 May 2011


Abstract


This report describes the control, sensing, and communication capabilities of an unmanned aircraft system developed through a systems engineering process at the U.S. Air Force Academy. A particular emphasis is placed on finding targets autonomously and relaying the target information to a ground station using a user-friendly graphical interface. The goal of the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over a mission area, search for ground targets, locate, and report detected targets to a human operator. The UAS consists of two modules: the ground station and the aircraft. The target recognition algorithm resides on the ground station, which combines telemetry data and images produced by an onboard electro-optical (EO) camera to compute locations of detected targets. The target recognition software scans each image and informs the operator if there is a possible target in an image. The UAV was designed and developed to carry the system payload while maintaining stabile aerodynamic flight for at least 30 minutes. Propulsion is provided by a Hacker Brushless Electric Motor and two Thunder Power 37V 5 ampere hour (Ah) lithium polymer batteries. The payload is powered by a single Thunder Power 11.1V 5 Ah lithium polymer battery. The aircraft weighs 20 pounds and has a wingspan of 80 inches. The UAV is controlled autonomously via a commercial autopilot, which utilizes the 900 Mhz frequency, and backup manual radio control within the 2.4 GHz frequency band.

Table of Contents


List of Figures . . . . . . . . . 3

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . 4

1.1 Mission Requirements . . . . . . . 4

1.2 System Analysis . . . . . . . 4

1.3 System Overview . . . . . . . 4


2. System Selection . . . . . . . . . 5

2.1 Payload Selection . . . . . . . . 5

2.2 Airframe Selection . . . . . . . 6


3. Airborne System . . . . . . . . . 7

3.1 Autopilot . . . . . . . . 7

3.2 Camera Payload . . . . . . . 8


4. Ground Station . . . . . . . . . 8

4.1 UAS Control Unit . . . . . . . 8

4.2 Target Recognition/Localization Unit . . . . . 9

4.3 Communications Unit . . . . . . . 11

5. Safety . . . . . . . . . . 12

5.1 Autopilot Safety Measure. . . . . . . 12

5.2 Safety Boards . . . . . . . . 12

5.3 FAA Coordination/Spotters . . . . . . 12 5.4 Checklist Discipline . . . . . . . 13

6. Tests/Results . . . . . . . . 13

6.1 Hardware in the Loop Simulation Tests. . . . . . 14 6.2 Flight Tests . . . . . . . . 14

7. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . 14


Appendix I . . . . . . . . . . 16


Appendix II . . . . . . . . . . 17


Appendix III . . . . . . . . . . 18


List of Terms . . . . . . . . . . 19




List of Figures

Figure Page



  1. Cover Image . . . . . 1




  1. Onboard Autopilot System . . . . . . 9




  1. Autopilot GUI . . . . . . . 10




  1. Target Recognition/Localization Unit . . . . . 11




  1. Target Recognition Flowchart. . . . . . . 12




  1. Results of Target Recognition Program. . . . . . 12




  1. Safety Board . . . . . 14



List of Tables

Table Page



  1. Evaluating Two Possible Payloads . . . . . 6




  1. Aircraft Performance . . . . . . 7




  1. Mission Averages . . . . . . . 8



1. Introduction

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Colligate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) competition organizers have defined system requirements that are used as the basis of developing our unmanned system. We have designed and developed our system using a systems engineering approach that prioritized the given requirements and guided our development efforts. We have developed and tested our unmanned system to satisfy these requirements.


1.1 Mission Requirements

The AUVSI competition rules were used to derive the system requirements. The competition requires that an aircraft takeoff and follow a path to a designated search area. The search area contains a number of different targets on the ground. The team must be able to report information on these targets, such as the latitude, longitude, color, shape, orientation, and alphanumeric designator. Our system should also be able to cover a pop-up search area in order to find additional targets within an efficient timeframe. An additional constraint to be considered is designing an aircraft capable of autonomous flight, including takeoff and landing. Furthermore, having an autonomous targeting system would be optimal for quick, real-time reporting of target information, which is an essential military capability. In order to track our requirements, our team created a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) in which our team grouped requirements into sections based on the different parts of the mission. Each requirement was assigned a reference number along with threshold and objective requirement values. Verification methods were listed for each numbered requirement. The RTM was used to manage requirements for our project. Our RTM can be found in Appendix I of this document.


1.2 System Analysis

Our team was given two candidate payload modules and three available aircraft from which we could select our system. We prioritized the functionalities based on requirements and preferred systems engineering trade off studies as shown in Appendix II. Our team rated safety, communication, and autonomous flight as the top three priorities for the mission requirements. The other categories that were prioritized closely behind the first three are accurate target recognition, cost, and weight.


1.3 System Overview

The complete system has two modules, which contain subsystems which will be discussed in further detail in Sections 3 and 4. The first main module is the UAV. We chose to use two different airframes: the Kadet-Senior and the Academy Hauler due to aircraft availibility and the desire for multiple backup aircraft. The Kadet Senior is a commercial RC aircraft that we have modified for our mission. The Academy Hauler is a customized airframe to meet Academy research requirements. Each airframe has a payload that consists of a camera, an autopilot, a laser-altimeter, and a power system. The camera and the autopilot, with the laser altimeter being connected to the autopilot, transmit real-time information back down to the ground station. The ground station, the second module, is made up of two main components, the autopilot control unit and the image capture/target recognition system. The autopilot control unit provides an operator with a capability to control and monitor the UAV including its trajectories and airspeed. The image capture/target recognition system is designed to provide a user with target information. The autonomous target system captures images, performs image-processing algorithms, and deploys resulting target information for an operator.


2. System Selection

In order to determine the best payload/ airframe selection, members of the UAS system engineering team reviewed the AUVSI competition rules and requirements. This group, which is made up of cadets with various backgrounds, used a combination of research, systems engineering procedures, and 2010 competition results to determine the best airframe and payload for the given mission. The main device, however, for selecting our airframe and payload was the use of the systems engineering process based on feasibility analyses.


2.1 Payload Selection

The team considered two different sensor payloads: Payload A and Payload B. Payload A has an onboard computer, a digital camera, and a digital communication system while Payload B has no onboard computer, an analog camera, and an analog communication system. Based on the AUVSI competition guidelines and rules, the design team determined that the following items that support system requirements should be analyzed for each option: sensor capabilities, communications range, power requirements, safety, control, weight, and simplicity. Although each of these requirement families were determined to be very important, our team felt that the payload sensing, communications range, and weight were the most important factors and these were weighted at 0.3, 0.25, and 0.4, respectively. Refer to Table 1. In the sensing category, Payload A was a clear winner due to its ability to support fully autonomous target recognition, output images in Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format, and take digital pictures which provided clearer images compared to the ones generated by the analog camera in Payload B. Next, in the communications category, Payload A was once again the winner. Despite the fact that Payload A uses an Ethernet signal which must be converted to a wireless signal increasing time delay, Payload B—based on test flights—has an issue with consistently transmitting uninterrupted signals. Last but not least is the simplicity category, or the selection of a component producing the least technical risk due to complex componenets. With the belief that



















Property:

Field of View

Image Size

Weight

Range

Num. of Batteries







Weight:

0.15

0.15

0.40

0.25

0.05




Normalizing Rule:

Amount/ Greatest

Size/

Greatest

Lowest/Amount

Highest/Amount

Lowest/

Amount




Candidate

Ratings

Totals

Payload A

Raw Score

"+/-70 pan +/-52 tilt"

640x480

2064.00

1 mile

3.00

0.88

(Normalized)

(1.00)

(1.00)

(0.70)

(1.00)

(1.00)

Payload B

Raw Score

"+/- 45 pan +/- 45 tilt"

640x480

1444.00

1 mile

3.00

0.95

(Normalized)

(0.64)

(1.00)

(1.00)

(1.00)

(1.00)

Table - Evaluating Two Possible Payloads


fewer interfaces between subsystems on our UAS will create a more reliable UAS, our team decided that Payload B was the simpler system. This was determined because Payload B has no onboard computer which will eliminate additional, unneeded data connections. Payload A, on the other hand, has an onboard computer, which makes it necessary to have these extra connections. Additionally, Payload B will make the system analysis and debugging easier because there are fewer components to interface ultimately making the system easier to use, maintain, and train operators in the long run. As a result, we chose a combination of payloads A and B, selecting the onboard system option with a superior digital camera, no onboard computer, and a digital communication system.

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