Service abstraction layer for UAV flexible application development

01/2008; DOI: 10.2514/6.2008-484
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT An Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) is an uninhabited airplane, piloted by embed- ded avionics and supervised by an operator on ground. Unmanned Aerial Systems were designed to operate in dangerous situations, like military missions. With the avionics tech- nological evolution, Unmanned Aerial Systems also become a valid option for commercial applications, specially for dull and tedious surveillance applications. Cost considerations will also deviate some mission done today with conventional aircrafts to Unmanned Aerial Systems. In order to build economically viable UAS solutions, the same platform should be able to implement a variety of missions with little reconfiguration time and overhead. This paper describes a software abstraction layer for a Unmanned Aerial System distributed architecture. The proposed abstraction layer allows the easy and fast design of missions and solves in a cost-effective way the reusability of the system. The distributed architecture of the Unmanned Aerial System is service oriented. Func- tional units are implemented as independent services that interact each other using commu- nication primitives in a network centric approach. The paper presents a set of predefined services useful for reconfigurable civil missions and the directives for their communication. Postprint (published version)

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    ABSTRACT: UAS have great potential to be used in a wide variety of civil applications such as environmental applications, emergency situations, surveillance tasks and more. The devel-opment of Flight Control Systems (FCS) coupled with the availability of other Commercial Off-The Shelf (COTS) components is enabling the introduction of Unmanned Aircraft Sys-tems (UAS) into the civil market. Despite the increasing number of COTS components becoming available, much effort is still required in order to make UAS a viable commercial solution for civil applications. We believe that for UAS to be successful in this context they must be flexible systems able to perform a wide variety of missions with minimal reconfiguration and reduced operational costs. In previous work, a flight plan specification formalism and its corresponding execution engine have been presented. These elements may suffice for simple applications but for more complex scenarios, we need a mechanism that specifies the vehicle behavior not only in flight plan terms but also taking into account payload operation. To provide this integration and, at the same time, increase the level of automation a mission management layer is added on top of the flight plan management facilities. The system flexibility requirement is satisfied by decoupling the mission description from its execution engine. This paper introduces an XML based mission specification mechanism for modeling the event-driven state-based behavior of the UAS. The Mission Manager is the software module responsible for its execution. The integration of the Mission Manager with other components that form part of our UAS distributed architecture is also described.
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    ABSTRACT: Selecting the right autopilot to be integrated in a given UAS to develop a certain mission is a complex task because none of them are mutu-ally compatible. Moving from one autopilot to another may imply redesign form scratch all the remaining avionics in the UAS. This paper presents the Virtual Autopilot Sys-tem (VAS), an intermediate subsystem added to the UAS platform to abstract the autopilot from the mission and payload controller in a UAS. The VAS is a system that on one side interacts with the selected autopilot and therefore needs to be adapted to its peculiarities. On the other side, interacts with all the architecture offering stan-dardized information of the autopilot, and con-suming mission and payload orders.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents a new concept for specifying Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flight operations that aims at improving the waypoint based approach, found in most autopilot systems, by providing higher level fligh plan specification primitives. The proposed method borrows the leg and path terminator concepts used in Area Navigation1 (RNAV). Several RNAV leg types are adopted and extended with new ones for a better adaptation to UAS requirements. Extensions include the addition of control constructs that enable repetitive and conditional behavior, and also parametric legs that can be used to generate complex paths from a reduced number of parameters. The paper also covers the design and implementation of a software component that manages execution of the flight plan. To take advantage of current off-the-shelf flight control systems the constructs included in the flight plan are translated to waypoint navigation commands. In this way, the advanced capabilities provided by the flight plan specification language are implemented as a new layer on top of existing technologies. The benefits and the feasibility of the proposed approach for UAS flight plan management are demonstrated by means of a simulated mission that performs the flight inspection of Radio Navigation Aids.
    Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems 07/2012; 67(2). · 0.81 Impact Factor

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