Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.585419
Title: On the derivation and analysis of decision architectures for uninhabited air systems
Author: Patchett, Charles H.
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
Operation of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) has increased significantly over the past few years. However, routine operation in non-segregated airspace remains a challenge, primarily due to nature of the environment and restrictions and challenges that accompany this. Currently, tight human control is envisaged as a means to achieve the oft quoted requirements of transparency , equivalence and safety. However, the problems of high cost of human operation, potential communication losses and operator remoteness remain as obstacles. One means of overcoming these obstacles is to devolve authority, from the ground controller to an on-board system able to understand its situation and make appropriate decisions when authorised. Such an on-board system is known as an Autonomous System. The nature of the autonomous system, how it should be designed, when and how authority should be transferred and in what context can they be allowed to control the vehicle are the general motivation for this study. To do this, the system must overcome the negative aspects of differentiators that exist between UASs and manned aircraft and introduce methods to achieve required increases in the levels of versatility, cost, safety and performance. The general thesis of this work is that the role and responsibility of an airborne autonomous system are sufficiently different from those of other conventionally controlled manned and unmanned systems to require a different architectural approach. Such a different architecture will also have additional requirements placed upon it in order to demonstrate acceptable levels of Transparency, Equivalence and Safety. The architecture for the system is developed from an analysis of the basic requirements and adapted from a consideration of other, suitable candidates for effective control of the vehicle under devolved authority. The best practices for airborne systems in general are identified and amalgamated with established principles and approaches of robotics and intelligent agents. From this, a decision architecture, capable of interacting with external human agencies such as the UAS Commander and Air Traffic Controllers, is proposed in detail. This architecture has been implemented and a number of further lessons can be drawn from this. In order to understand in detail the system safety requirements, an analysis of manned and unmanned aircraft accidents is made. Particular interest is given to the type of control moding of current unmanned aircraft in order to make a comparison, and prediction, with accidents likely to be caused by autonomously controlled vehicles. The effect of pilot remoteness on the accident rate is studied and a new classification of this remoteness is identified as a major contributor to accidents A preliminary Bayesian model for unmanned aircraft accidents is developed and results and predictions are made as an output of this model. From the accident analysis and modelling, strategies to improve UAS safety are identified. Detailed implementations within these strategies are analysed and a proposal for more advanced Human-Machine Interaction made. In particular, detailed analysis is given on exemplar scenarios that a UAS may encounter. These are: Sense and Avoid , Mission Management Failure, Take Off/Landing, and Lost Link procedures and Communications Failure. These analyses identify the nature of autonomous, as opposed to automatic, operation and clearly show the benefits to safety of autonomous air vehicle operation, with an identifiable decision architecture, and its relationship with the human controller. From the strategies and detailed analysis of the exemplar scenarios, proposals are made for the improvement of unmanned vehicle safety The incorporation of these proposals into the suggested decision architecture are accompanied by analysis of the levels of benefit that may be expected. These suggest that a level approaching that of conventional manned aircraft is achievable using currently available technologies but with substantial architectural design methodologies than currently fielded.
Supervisor: Sastry, V. V. S. S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.585419  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Unmanned aerial systems ; Autonomous systems ; Unmanned aerial vehicles
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