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 48 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 that could only detect a signal if pointed at the target. The aircraft organized themselves in a way that made it possible to determine the loca- tion of the different targets that were set up in the environment. The project was completed in collaboration with the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, a public research university in Daejeon, South Korea. The Korean team devel- oped the control algorithms to coordinate the aircraft, and the CU Boulder team implement- ed the algorithms and flew the UAS. "We've also developed our own algorithm and can perform the same type of activ- ity," Frew said. "This demonstrates not only swarming but that we have a system capable of multiple types of swarming operations or experiments." Three CU Talon unmanned aircraft fly above the ground control station. The aircraft are staging before their cooperative mission begins. The Applications Multiple drones collaborating to detect emit- ters, as they did during this recent testing, could help first responders locate missing hik- ers or skiers through their cell phone signal— even if they aren't near a cell tower, Frew said. The technology also could be used to more eas- ily track wildlife wearing signal-emitting col- lars, which is one of several applications part- ner Colorado Parks and Wildlife is interested in exploring. The agency hasn't reached the testing phase with this technology yet, said Mat Alldredge, who is part of the research team for the agen- cy, but they hope to get there soon. For now, the CU team is educating the agency on the benefits single and multiple drones can bring, and helping them find ways the technology can save them money, enhance safety and make them more efficient. One of the more simple applications the agency is considering involves monitoring how wildlife impact crop health, Alldredge said. Deploying UAS to track high frequency signals to locate wildlife is a more complex application Alldredge sees the agency possibly implement- ing a few years down the road. Today, the agen- cy deploys manned aircraft to complete wild- life surveys, which can be pretty expensive and dangerous. The airplanes f ly low to the ground for hours at a time so researchers can count the animals and determine population sizes. Being able to verify counts using drone video that can be replayed would be a huge benefit in both cost and time savings. "Now we have planes go up at least once a week to f ly collars on all kinds of different studies to listen to the VHF signal and find out where the animals are, if there's mortality or if they're still alive," Alldredge said. "On some projects we have to recapture animals every year, so we might have an airplane in the air trying to find deer. When they find them, they call in a helicopter and the helicopter does the capture. So you have an airplane circling over-

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