Autonomous, Cooperative UAV Operations Using COTS Consumer Drones and Custom Ground Control Station
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The benefits of using UA Vs for inexpensive aerial surveillance and survey have been widely accepted, and UAVs are routinely assisting humans performing ISR operations. While large countries and well-funded military departments can afford to spend vast sums of money on military UAV technology, commercial enterprises, NGOs and smaller countries' armed forces may have to prioritize more cost effective solutions. By designing and implementing a custom ground control station we have enhanced the capabilities of inexpensive COTS drones equipping them with cooperative behavior and increased autonomy and automation. A plug-in based autonomy framework facilitates rapid development of new autonomous drone behavior, and new drone models are easily integrated with the system by writing software adapters. In a series a field trials the system demonstrated multiple, unmodified, cooperating COTS drones participating in continuous and autonomous ISR operations. Together, low acquisition and replacement costs, reduced operator training costs and less required personnel should bring costs down significantly, making drone operations accessible to more commercial enterprises, NGOs and economically constrained military departments/units.
Skjervold, Espen; Hoelsæter, Øistein Thomle. Autonomous, Cooperative UAV Operations Using COTS Consumer Drones and Custom Ground Control Station. MILCOM IEEE Military Communications Conference 2018