Over the course of this semester, our team of 8 software engineers worked together to solve a problem by discovering, articulating, and developing a software solution. We worked with our client, Dr. Jeffrey Herrmann from the mechanical engineering department, to make his research on route planning for UAVs more accessible and portable.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have become commonplace in today's airspace. They have long been used in the military, but now domestic use for this technology is on the rise. From border patrol to irrigation to even rescues, UAV application is growing. But as practical as they can be, UAVs, like any aircraft, have the risk of crash from the air for a number of unforeseen reasons. A crash over a heavily populated area could be devastating. Therefore, it is important for UAV operators to be able to make logical and well-educated decisions when planning the prospective routes of their planes. Tools are necessary for them to determine what acceptable tradeoffs between risk and flight time are.
This project was commissioned by Professor Jeffrey Herrmann of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Maryland. Through his research, he has created a model that can be used to plan the routes of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) based on the risk of crashing into populated areas and the time it takes to complete the route. Herrmann’s existing work first takes into account the speed, altitude, and vehicle parameters to calculate the crash probability distribution to show where the vehicle may land if it were to fail mid-course. It then calculates multiple possible flight routes for different weights of time and risk using the calculated crash probability distribution overlaid Census data providing population densities to calculate a risk value.
As the use of UAVs rises rapidly, the need for this kind of research rises as well. Professor Herrmann’s research improves UAV route planners’ ability to identify which routes their planes can take to minimize the risk encountered. Our job was to create an interface that allows for practical use of this research.
ABOUT OUR PRODUCT
Our project addresses the problem of developing an intuitive method of allowing multiple users to make use of Dr. Jeffrey Herrmann's UAV route planning algorithm. Dr. Herrmann's research solves an important problem in UAV operation, but is implemented in a format that requires direct interaction with MATLAB code. This format is not desirable to UAV route planners. The goal of this project was to develop system which integrates Dr. Herrmann's research with a simplified user interface that enables UAV route planners to use this product as an abstaction of the underlying code.
Our project is designed to be hosted on a local network server and is accessed through a web-based front end. Users specify details about their route on the unput page and submit it to our system. Once their job has completed running, they are notified and sent a URL specific to their job that displays the routes and route information. All of this information is downloadable for the user's convenience.
ABOUT OUR TEAM
Ram Ambalavanar - Junior, Computer Engineering
Wasson An - Junior, Computer Science
Daniel Anderson - Senior, Computer Engineering
Emily Carroll - Senior, Computer Science
Anthony Dean - Senior, Computer Engineering
Jigna Lad - Senior, Aerospace Engineering, Minor Computer Science
John Stackpole - Senior, Computer Engineering
Eliana Vornov - Senior, Computer Science and Linguistics