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ICPUAS: International Cooperation Program for Unmanned Aerial Systems Research and Development

Company/Entity: 
IRSES project within the Marie Curie Program FP7

Partners:
1.-  Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (U.P.M.), coordinator, country: ES 
2.- Cranfield University (C.U.-DCMT), country: UK 
3.-  Queensland University of Technology  (ARCAA-Q.U.T.), country: AU 
Summary:
The programme ICPUAS aims for an international alliance for research and development in Unmanned Aerial System technologies and their civilian applications. This proposal aims to bring together world leading research organisation in such as, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (UPM), Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA) and Cranfield University (CU).
While research in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is not new, what will be new in the foreseeable future is how such systems are used and integrated in the civilian space. Today’s research in UAS still continues to be recognized as a difficult task, and many challenges still remain. The aim of this proposal is to create an international knowledge alliance between three world-class institutions performing research in different and complementary fields of UAS. For this reason, the Colibri Project at the Computer Vision Group at Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (Spain), the Guidance and Control Group at the Department of Aerospace, Power and Sensors (DAPS) at Cranfield University (U.K) and The Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA) at Queensland University of Technology are making a commitment for research and faculty staff exchange that permits to share and complement the expertise of each institution in areas related to applied visual systems to UAS navigation (UPM-CV), guidance and control systems architectures (DAPS) and applications of UAS to civilian tasks (ARCAA). This program comprises a series of staff exchange, Know How transfer and resources/facilities allocation.
 
Objectives and relevance of the joint research programme:
The main aim of this program is to push up the “state of the art” in UAS thought the exchange of knowledge between world leading research organizations.  This program encompasses an interdisciplinary synthesis of various fields pertinent to UAS such as: estimation theory, computer vision, real-time control and embedded system development. This research program covers a wide range of topics, from aerospace (guidance and navigation), mechanical (dynamics and kinematics), electrical (control theory) and computer science (estimation, computer vision). Forefront organizations in the world have been developing technologies in the different areas mentioned above. The purpose of this research program is to bring together some of these organizations and establish a strong collaboration link for the benefit of UAS.
The ultimate goal of the ICPUAS research program is to closely bring together European research organizations and third partner countries.  As such, the specific aims of this project are to:

  1. Allow through the exchange of staff to improve the quality of the research outcomes in each partner organization.
  2. Develop UAS frameworks for integration and use into civilian space under a regulated context.
  3. Push up the “state of the art” in computer vision, control and trajectory planning approaches for UAS
  4.  Perform research with the aim of integrate computer vision approaches and multisensor fusion technologies into UAS.
  5. To carry out trade-studies to generate business models and UAS applicability for an effective technology transfer of UAS to society.
  6. Develop operational and safety procedures for UAS flight requirements with the aim of contributing with regulatory bodies in the development of UAS regulation policies.

Project Achievements summary:

  • Eleven successful secondments (5 from UPM to ARCAA, 2 from ARCAA to UPM, 2 from ARCAA to DCMT and 2 from DCMT to ARCAA), summing up 40 months secondments.
  • One paper in the prestigious Autonomous Robots Journal Published
  • Seven papers in international congresses (FLINS12, WCCI12, ICUAS12, IAS12, DICTA11, ICARA11 and RED-UAS11)
  • One Seminar imparted on the "Robotics and Automatics" Master  degree program at UPM.
  • One Seminar on "Linear Automatic Control with applications in manufacturing and aerospace" at the QUT.

Scientific highlights and research achievements:
A successful collaboration between ARCAA, DCMT and UPM have been consolidated by means of collaborative research in the following areas:

  • Safety zone identification for an Emergency force Landing: Results developed by ARCAA for fixed wing vehicles have been validated for rotary wing helicopters on UPM. (additional info)
  •  Pose estimation techniques based on visual information have been successfully validated on the ARCAA and UPM UAVs.
  • Image enhancement methods developed by UPM has been tested on ARCAA equipments and compared against method bases on inertial information.
  •  A collaborative project for Sense and Avoid have been developed between ARCAA and UPM. The method have been totally developed during the staff interchange stays on both the ARCAA and  UPM facilities and designed to be implemented on the different equipments belonging to both institutions (fixed wing, ARCAA and rotary wing, UPM).

Secomends successfully carried out:

Starting date: 
2009-09-04
Finishing date: 
2012-09-03