Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR INNOVATION 46 unmanned systems inside October/November 2017 A team of researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a swarming algorithm that enables one pilot to fl y multiple unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at once, a technology that could be used for search and rescue missions, to track wildlife and to better predict severe storms, among other applications. by Renee Knight Photos courtesy of The University of Colorado Boulder. WORKING TOGETHER J ust as with teams of people, so much more ground can be covered when multiple unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) work together. But for that to happen, UAS must be able to communicate with each other and make decisions based on the team's overall goal— technology researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have been working on de- veloping for years. What they've come up with combines a robust wireless communication network, an operational interface that gives the pilot the situational awareness needed to monitor mul- tiple aircraft, and a speciaized autonomous algorithm. The algorithm enables the drones to make local decisions and then communi- cate those decisions either directly to each other or to a centralized ground station that then distributes the information, said Eric Frew, associate professor of the Ann and H.J. 4 BY THE NUMBERS THE NUMBER OF UAS the team at the University of Colorado Boulder has fl own at one time so far. The Certifi cate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA allows up to 30. "Once you get 4, 5, 6 drones in the air, it becomes challenging to coordinate and understand what they're all doing," said Eric Frew, associate professor of the Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the university. "Five to eight is around the number we feel comfortable implementing. I don't say swarming to mean swarms of locusts or birds. It means aircraft cooperating together in a more intelligent way. We can't scale up to 30 in a simplistic way. They need to be able to talk to each other and understand what is happening from the team wide perspective."

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