University of Twente Student Theses


UCAVs Against Air Threats : Pre-feasibility Study for a Semi-Direct Control System

Dijkstra, F.B. (2017) UCAVs Against Air Threats : Pre-feasibility Study for a Semi-Direct Control System.

[img] PDF
Abstract:The constraints of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) utilisation partially reside in the dependency on wireless communication protocols which may suffer from bandwidth limitation, latency and frailness. In addition, the geographical separation between operator and UCAV can cause the operators situational awareness to drastically decrease. These deficiencies restrict the effectiveness of UCAVs especially in engagements with adversaries. From this, the claim has evolved that UCAVs at present, are insufficiently survivable and effective in air-to-air combat situations. A potential solution overcoming the vulnerability of UCAVs in air-to-air combat scenarios is provided by Hans Heerkens and Frank Tempelman. The solution is being referred to as a Semi-Direct Control System (SDCS). The philosophy behind the SDCS entails a scenario in which the UCAV operator does not control the UCAV equipped with the SDCS directly, but instead sends commands with varying intervals. These commands provide waypoints or goals for the UCAV to achieve. On board "Intelligence" determines how to fulfill the command it has received from the operator. The SDCS is placed on the verge between direct joystick control and full autonomous control and aims at eliminating the drawbacks of these "classic" control options. This thesis handles the development of a demonstrational and developmental platform to act as a tool to perform research into the feasibility of the SDCS and to demonstrate its functioning. The prototype (MVP) developed in this thesis, is created from the open source flight simulator FlightGear, the programming language Python and by leveraging Ubuntu operating system functionality. Several functionalities require further development to successfully demonstrate the added value of the SDCS; such as the "intelligent" flight controller and the user interface. The current possibilities of commands that can be given to the UCAV are too limited to successfully perform UCAV related tasks. The MVP can function as a development platform for further research; The choice of open source software and the open and accessible architecture of FlightGear has strongly contributed to the MVP being future proof. In addition, the open source community may provide further functionality. Data link latency can be simulated with aid of the MVP which allows it to demonstrate the issues related with latency indirect joystick control of UCAVs and furthermore function as a human factors research platform. The MVP can be utilised as a research tool that can contribute to knowledge in the field of autonomy and human factors research in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
NLR, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
NLR, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Creative Technology BSc (50447)
Link to this item:
Export this item as:BibTeX
HTML Citation
Reference Manager


Repository Staff Only: item control page