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APV-3 Networked UAV Teaming Experiment

APV-3 Networked UAV Teaming Experiment

Movie Number   EM-0087-01
Movie Date   March 17, 2005
Formats   160x120 QuickTime Movie (1.1 MB)
320x240 QuickTime Movie (2.2 MB)
480x360 QuickTime Movie (3.4 MB)
640x480 QuickTime Movie (5.6 MB)
APV-3 Networked UAV Teaming Experiment Still photos of this aircraft are available in several resolutions

This 42 second movie clip shows a takeoff and landing of the APV-3 aircraft for the Networked UAV Teaming Experiment.

Engineers and technicians from NASA's Ames Research Center and Dryden Flight Research Center conducted flight tests over a 'virtual' forest fire in early 2005 to evaluate new flight-control software that will allow Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to autonomously react to obstacles as they fly pre-programmed missions. The tests were conducted over a remote area of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to investigate cooperative flight strategies for airborne monitoring and surveillance of natural disasters and for atmospheric sampling.

Several novel approaches for providing assistance to wildfire suppression crews using a team of two small UAVs were flown, using a combination of rules from nature and robotics to cooperatively transit and search a virtual forest fire. The experiment used several principles derived from studies of fish and bird motions to simultaneously guide the inexpensive robotic UAVs around obstacles such as simulated smoke plumes.

The two autopilot-equipped, 12-foot wingspan APV-3 aircraft flew along computer-generated paths and demonstrated the ability to avoid obstacles in a cooperative and synchronized manner, all without the help of flight personnel. The aircraft and software also demonstrated an ability to complete more complex navigation and surveillance tasks.

For this portion of the tests, the software created waypoints on a rectangular grid of the search area, automatically developed individual flight plans and transmitted them to each vehicle. After passing their first few waypoints, one of the aircraft was commanded to begin orbiting over the virtual fire. The remaining search points were then transmitted to the second aircraft which incorporated these points into its flight plan and completed the mission.

This technology may one day enable swarms of aircraft to move safely from one area to another as a flock or group, 'stacked' in a vertical column with instruments to collect air samples on future science missions or help ground personnel monitor forest fires and other natural disasters.

The Networked UAV Teaming Experiment was sponsored by NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate's Aeronautics Systems Analysis Project. The two APV-3 UAV aircraft flown in the experiment were bult by RnR Products, Inc.
Keywords   APV-3 aircraft, UAV, NUAVT, Networked UAV Teaming Experiment
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