||US Air Force Academy, CO 808406200
Starting from early remotely piloted reconnaissance missions in the 1960s, the military role of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has grown both in relevance and scope. Today, UAVs represent mobile flying networks capable of using a wide range of sensors and in some cases, a limited arsenal to not only gather information about the activities and resources of the enemy, but also perform a series of additional missions, such as surveillance, target acquisition, and tactical security. In several instances during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the information provided by UAVs allowed manned strike teams to successfully attack time critical targets in medium and high-threat environments. Recent research achievements on autonomous UAVs suggest the way to even greater UAV presence in future military operations. However, the research community has been focusing on single UAV issues, without sufficient efforts to explore the capabilities offered by multiple UAVS working cooperatively. Multiple UAVs provide flexibility, redundancy, and efficiency over a single UAV no matter how sophisticated. For example, as a flying communication network, multiple UAVs can autonomously fly to provide secure robust data links among friendly units or to intercept enemy communications. Making use of its sensory payload, a group of UAVs capable of coordinated surveillance and threat recognition can identify when, where, and by whom an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is planted. Since the UAV group operates autonomously, large areas can be persistently surveyed with minimal involvement of ground personnel. The Academy Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research routinely conducts multiple UAVs flight experiments over the Academy grounds. Using relevant research projects, we seek to demonstrate the effective use of multiple UAVs in a variety of military and civilian applications including wide area reconnaissance, surveillance, and intelligence collection missions.
Pack D, et al: IEEE Transactions on System, Man, and Cybernetics 39(4): 959970, 2009
Unmanned aircraft systems; Cooperative control; Sensor network; Sensor fusion; Autonomous unmanned systems; Wireless mobile networks; Target localization; Estimation techniques; Multi-agent;