Research Summaries

Back Cumulative Energy Estimation for Optimal Planning of ISR Mission of Cooperative Autonomously Soaring Gliders

Fiscal Year 2015
Division Research & Sponsored Programs
Department Consortium for Robotics & Unmanned Systems Education & Research
Investigator(s) Dobrokhodov, Vladimir N.
Buettner, Jr., Raymond R.
Jones, Kevin D.
Sponsor Office of Naval Research (Navy)
Summary The operational efficiency of multiple cooperative UAVs in an ISR mission depends significantly on the optimality of mission planning. In an extended endurance ISR mission, when the UAVs are implemented by a novel class of soaring gliders capable of harvesting energy from the convective air and solar panels, the predictive methods of estimating the onboard energy become the most critical factors in planning of persistent ISR. Therefore, we propose to develop a new approach to the estimation of the total onboard energy of autonomous soaring gliders that can be used as an optimization metric in the mission planning phase. In an envisioned scenario the ISR analyst plans a mission of multiple autonomous gliders such that either the feasibility of the desired mission is immediately assessed, or the number of gliders and the mission horizon are automatically adjusted to optimally fit into the predicted value of cumulative energy resources.
On one hand, the problem of estimating the cumulative energy relies on novel methods of combining various physical sources of energy: the potential energy of height and the electrical energy stored in onboard batteries. The key challenge here is in finding a formal representation of the cumulative energy state while the physical nature of its sources is different. On the other hand, the cumulative energy state needs to be manipulated to predict the possible transformation of the onboard power into, for example, the feasible operational range or the operational time on target. Therefore, it is intuitive that the cumulative energy can be used to either maximize the figure of merit (FOM) of the collaborative ISR mission or to evaluate the FOM for a mission at hand; the FOM can be specific for a particular mission and in a typical persistent ISR scenario can be represented by the time on target or the covered operational area.
Developing the approach of estimating the cumulative energy state of single and multiple soaring gliders will not only reduce the demand upon mission planner, but will also increase the guaranteed level of the ISR mission effectiveness. Current mode of mission planning of a traditional gas or electric powered UAV considers the longest operational time due to onboard gas or power supplies at the most. Mission planning of multiple cooperative UAVs just started to emerge, and is typically implemented as an ad-hoc method with no prior guarantees of the mission success. These limitations motivate the development of a cumulative energy state estimation algorithm of a flock of energy harvesting gliders to facilitate enhanced operational efficiency by accounting for energy constraints at the mission planning level.
This proposal will build on the work on control of autonomous gliders accomplished by the students in ME4822 (Prof. Dobrokhodov) and ME4823 (Prof. Kaminer), and presented at CRUSER TechCon in April of 2014.
Publications Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal
Data Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal