RPV/UAV Surveillance for Transportation Management and Security


Demoz Gebre-Egziabher

December 2008

Report no. CTS 08-27

This report describes the results of an investigation into some of the technical and operational issues associated with using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for the application of surveillance in support of transportation infrastructure management and security. As part of this investigation a low-cost, miniature, hand-launched aerial vehicle and supporting ground systems suitable for surveillance of highways and traffic infrastructure were developed. Except for the ground station software, this system was built from off-the-shelf components. The ground station software developed was used to enhance ground station operators' situational awareness and simultaneously allow analysis of the data transmitted from the aerial vehicle. In addition, a key system that was developed was an open-source Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) software suite for autonomous operation of small aerial vehicles. The culmination of this work was a series flight tests where the UAS developed was used as a tool to enhance situational awareness over a simulated traffic incident or emergency situation. The test consisted of defining a series of waypoints around the area of the simulated incident and launching the miniature aerial vehicle to autonomously fly from waypoint to waypoint.

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