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Aerial Surveillance Technology Could Keep Soldiers Safer

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MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle

An MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle with a GPS-guided bomb unit.

Credit: U.S. Air Force

Cranfield University researchers have developed an autonomous computer framework for use in multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (MUAVs). The framework enables one operator to control numerous vehicles from a safe position on the ground, which the researchers say makes surveillance missions significantly cheaper. The framework allows an operator to program a mission objective and, through a series of control algorithms, it manages each vehicle's functions, including navigation, guidance, path planning, and decision making.

"We have to be absolutely certain of the behavior of the UAVs if they are operating over civilian areas or in a battle situation," says Cranfield professor Antonios Tsourdos. The framework also increases the chances of a mission being conducted safely and successfully.

In addition, MUAVs using the framework can be used by search and rescue services and for environmental surveillance, as well as for other civil applications, such as mining and traffic control.

From Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
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