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Research Projects

DECISIVE: Development and Execution of Comprehensive and Integrated Subterranean Intelligent Vehicle Evaluations

Testing drones with designed “crashes”

Sponsor: U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center

Senior investigators: Holly Yanco, Reza Ahmadzadeh, Kshitij Jerath, Adam Norton, Paul Robinette, Jay Weitzen, Thanuka Wickramarathne

Junior investigators: Edwin Meriaux, Gregg Willcox, Minseop Choi, Ryan Donald, Brendan Donoghue, Christian Dumas, Peter Gavriel, Alden Giedraitis, Brendan Hertel, Jack Houle, Nathan Letteri, Zahra Rezaei Khavas, Rakshith Singh, Naye Yoni

Modern small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) platforms are being designed for and used in a wide variety of operating environments and application scenarios, such as search and rescue. Within this wide scope of applications, it is intuitive to hypothesize that the performance of different sUAS platforms will vary depending on the use case scenario being tested. The goal of this project is to evaluate several sUAS platforms and develop the ability to determine the ‘best’ sUAS for a specific mission or use case - a capability that may prove to be immensely helpful in the deployment of such platforms in indoor and subterranean (subT) environments. Our work created four tests that form a practical evaluation methodology for the performance of sUAS platform in two general cases: navigation and collision tolerance. The navigation tests a spectrum of cases such as wall-following, linear path traversal, corner navigation, door navigation, and aperture navigation. These individual tests show critical steps a sUAS needs to be able to conduct in various subT missions. For collision tolerance tests, we created categorical metrics and numerical metrics (inspired by vehicle collision research) where the drone collides with different obstacle at different incidence angles. Our test results show that in some collision tolerance conditions, it is easy to distinguish better performing drones, while in others the distinction is much more nuanced.
Rescaled models retain traffic behavior.png

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