Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Scott L. Nykl, PhD


The goal of automated aerial refueling (AAR) is to extend the range of unmanned aircraft. Control latency prevents a human from remotely controlling the receiving aircraft as it approaches a tanker. To conform with the size, weight, and power constraints of a small unmanned aircraft, an AAR system must execute in real-time on an embedded platform. This thesis explores the timing and computational performance of a NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin to a state-of-the-art general-purpose computer using existing AAR algorithms. It also constructs an augmented reality framework as an intermediate step for testing vision-based AAR algorithms between virtual testing and expensive test flights. Finally, it analyzes the impact of drogue movement in six degrees of freedom on the 2D image frame in terms of occluded pixels.

AFIT Designator



Approved for public release: MSC/PA-2023-0025

A 12-month embargo was observed.