Undergraduate Research Projects

Smart Cave Drone: 3D Cave Mapping using UAV’s as Robotic Co-Archaeologists

We propose the concept of drones capable of functioning as “Co-Archaeologists” that can map large caves and enter dangerous or hard-to-reach spaces. Using RGB-D data collected by drones, we will be able to produce accurate 3D models and semantic maps with proper lighting co-supervised by human archaeologists. This is going to be a major advance in archaeological practice, which can accelerate the speed of archaeological exploits by extending the archaeologists' sight and perception range.


Embedding Consequence Awareness in Unmanned Aerial Systems

Small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are becoming more and more prevalent, driven by consumer interest and their potential for revolutionizing aspects of commercial applications, such as delivery of urgent goods. The expected ubiquity of such systems raises concerns about their safety, and the ability of such autonomous systems to operate safely in densely populated areas (where their value will be greatest).

In this project, we outline a new framework aiming to adding an additional layer of safety to aerial systems operated by a human pilot or autopilot by monitoring the UAVs environment for visual cues, and monitoring the human pilot for signs of distraction. The system will endow a UAS with the ability to reason about its safety, and the consequences of safety failures during its operation. The UAS will furthermore continuously reason about possible safety maneuvers in response to likely failures -- in the event of an emergency, the vehicle can then execute its last safe maneuver, thus reducing the system’s impending danger. Embedding consequence awareness in sUAS is an obvious appeal to safer and more insurable missions.


Applicability of Estimating and Measuring Wind with sUAS using Mini Ultrasonic Anemometers

Understanding wind speed and direction in atmospheric science has important applications in the gas pipeline industry as well as in meteorology at sub-boundary layer levels. This work looks at the applicability of measuring wind speed and direction with mini ultrasonic anemometers onboard small unmanned aerial systems. The motor bias is quanitified through experiments for fixed wing and multi-rotor platforms at different placement locations. .