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Fully Autonomous Control System Design for Unmanned Air Vehicles through Mission Simulation

Luke Ng

The 2010 Summer Computer Simulation Conference (SCSC 10)
Ottawa, Canada, July 11-14, 2010


Unmanned systems have become an integral part of today’s military and law-enforcement operations. For Unmanned air vehicles, their predominant role is that of remote surveillance, however, there is a need for increasing the level of autonomy of these systems as their roles expand into automated surveillance, automated refueling, weapons/supply delivery, deep strike, etc. In this paper we describe a sensor-based reactive control system for a UAV which can perform a mission autonomously. The primary sensor is machine vision, however, the focus on this paper is that of implementing reactive control for UAV autonomy. The mission, safety and contingency planning are accomplished through a set of prioritized parallel controllers to produce a composite emergent control action. The parallel controllers are implemented using finite state machines and state diagrams. The development and evaluation of this autonomous controller is conducted on an engineering simulator being constructed at Defence R&D Canada in Ottawa. The design and evaluation mission is an end-phase interception mission for maritime surveillance. Simulation trials are presented demonstrating the ability of UAV to adapt to varying situations.

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