Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Jason M. Bindewald, PhD.


Autonomous unmanned aerial systems (UAS) could supplement and eventually subsume a substantial portion of the mission set currently executed by remote pilots, making UAS more robust, responsive, and numerous than permitted by teleoperation alone. Unfortunately, the development of robust autonomous systems is difficult, costly, and time-consuming. Furthermore, the resulting systems often make little reuse of proven software components and offer limited adaptability for new tasks. This work presents a development platform for UAS which promotes behavioral flexibility. The platform incorporates the Unified Behavior Framework (a modular, extensible autonomy framework), the Robotic Operating System (a RSF), and PX4 (an open- source flight controller). Simulation of UBF agents identify a combination of reactive robotic control strategies effective for small-scale navigation tasks by a UAS in the presence of obstacles. Finally, flight tests provide a partial validation of the simulated results. The development platform presented in this work offers robust and responsive behavioral flexibility for UAS agents in simulation and reality. This work lays the foundation for further development of a unified autonomous UAS platform supporting advanced planning algorithms and inter-agent communication by providing a behavior-flexible framework in which to implement, execute, extend, and reuse behaviors.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number