Date of Award
Master of Science
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Brett J. Borghetti, PhD
A limitation in RPA ISR operations is loss of target track if the command link is severed. For an RPA to effectively execute the ISR mission without a command link, it needs the capability to F2T targets autonomously. Automated Find Fix and Track (AFFTRAC) was developed to help solve this problem by demonstrating a proof of concept tactical autopilot. Monocular stereo vision was used to process sequential images acquired during orbit to produce a partial structural point cloud of the original structure. This partial structural point cloud was then exploited to create a holding area density for the aircraft to stay within. A simple greedy algorithm exploited this holding area density to produce aircraft turn commands to approximate tactical ISR holding. The result was that imagery from existing MQ-9 sensors was used to provide command guidance to autonomously to maintain line of sight to a target. Overall, AFFTRAC is a promising initial framework for a tactical autopilot, but additional development is needed to mature component algorithms.
DTIC Accession Number
Olson, Aubrey L., "Automated Find Fix and Track with a Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 4996.