Randal Beard

Vision Based Navigation and Tracking with Small UAVs

This talk will describe our current work on vision based autonomous navigation and tracking using small UAVs. We will overview two on-going projects. The first is relative navigation in GPS degraded environments. There are many applications where GPS is either restricted or denied. We have developed an architecture that uses a relative front end to navigate relative to key frames, and then opportunistically uses GPS measurements and SLAM-style loop closures in a back end process to provide global context. We will show some recent flight results that demonstrate robustness to GPS failure and degradation. The second project that we will discuss is robust tracking of multiple ground based targets from an airborne platform. We will present a new multiple target tracking algorithm that is based on the random sample consensus (RANSAC) algorithm that is widely used in computer vision. A recursive version of the RANSAC algorithm will be discussed, and its extension to tracking multiple dynamic objects will be explained. The performance of R-RANSAC will be compared to state of the art target tracking algorithms in the context of problems that are relevant to UAV applications.

Short Biography

Randal W. Beard received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City in 1991, the M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1993, the M.S. degree in mathematics in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1995, all from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Since 1996, he has been with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, where he is currently a professor. In 1997 and 1998, he was a Summer Faculty Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. In 2006 and 2007 he was a visiting research fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin AFB, FL. His primary research focus is autonomous control of small air vehicles and multivehicle coordination and control. He is a past associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, the IEEE Control Systems Magazine, and the Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems. He is a fellow of the IEEE, and an associate fellow of AIAA.

Christopher J. Zappa

Observing Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction Processes from VTOL UAVs

Short Biography

Zappa has been leader in the field of air-sea interaction since 1992 with extensive in situ, shipborne, tower, surface-drifter, autonomous surface vehicle, and airborne observational-based expertise. He was an ONR Young Investigator from 2004-2007 and recently the 2017 Schmidt Ocean Institute 5th Anniversary Impact Award recipient.  He is dedicated to understanding the processes that affect ocean-atmosphere interaction and their boundary layers. His focus includes wave dynamics and wave breaking, the effect of near-surface turbulence on heat, mass, and momentum transport, airborne infrared, multispectral visible, and polarimetric remote sensing, upper-ocean processes, polar ocean processes, coastal and estuarine dynamics.  Zappa is a member of the NASA Sea Surface Temperature Science Team, Air-Sea Interaction Scientific Committee of the American Meteorological Society, the SCOR Working Group on Sea Surface Microlayers, and the UNOLS Science Committee on Oceanographic Aircraft Research (SCOAR). He has over 40 refereed papers.  He has led a continuing evolution of the development of measurement systems for air-sea interaction, heat exchange and small-scale processes. He has developed an airborne infrared dual-imaging technique to characterize sea surface temperature variability at scales ranging from O(1m) to O(1km).  He has worked to develop imaging techniques that use polarization of visible radiation to quantify the phase-resolved fine-scale surface roughness features at air-water interfaces. Zappa was a Co-PI on the IcePOD program to develop a compact, airborne, polar instrumentation suite that can capture the dynamics of the changing polar regions, focusing on ice/ocean processes, targeting science missions such as mapping the sea ice and outlet glaciers surrounding Ross Island or the draining systems from large subglacial lakes in East Antarctica.   He has extensive experience in managing scientific projects and a strong history of working on large-scale collaborative field experiments.  Zappa has lead groups on a number of multi-disciplinary multi-investigator projects including the three GasEx campaigns (1998, 2001, 2008), and the Office of Naval Research DRIs Coupled-Boundary Layer, Air-Sea Transfer for Low to Moderate Winds (CBLAST-Low; 2001-2003), Radiance in a Dynamic Ocean (RaDyO; 2008-2009), and Coupled Air-Wave-Sea Processes in the Subtropics (DYNAMO; 2011). During the DYNAMO field season aboard the NOAA P-3 and the CBLAST-Low field program aboard a Cessna Skymaster, he led the efforts in airborne IR imagery of ocean skin temperature.  Zappa was a PI on the NASA project MIZOPEX that utilized UAVs (ScanEagle and Sierra) to measure coupled air-sea-ice processes within the BCMIZ.  He continued this work in 2015 in Svalbard, Norway with funding from the Moore foundation to develop new payloads for UAVs that include infrared and visible broadband imaging, hyperspectral NIR/VNIR imaging, longwave and shortwave broadband radiative fluxes, meteorological fluxes (momentum, sensible, latent, aerosol), atmospheric dropsondes, and air-deployed ocean microbuoys.  In 2016, we flew these payloads aboard the Latitude model HQ-60 fixed wing unmanned aerial system with vertical take-off and landing capability from the R/V Falkor in the Western Pacific 400 nautical miles south of Guam to study processes of the sea surface microlayer and their effects on open ocean radiance and irradiance.  We are continuing our work with UAVs in the Arctic bridging the scientific and indigenous communities to study sea ice change in Alaska.

Matt Fladeland

Briefing to University of Porto workshop on NASA Airborne Science Program and Ames UAVs

NASA Ames is in the 2nd year of a research partnership with the University of Portugal to jointly develop and test new autonomous vehicle technologies. For this workshop I will be delivering an update on NASA airborne science activities. As part of the discussions I will be briefing the University of Portugal faculty on the NASA Airborne Science Program (ASP) and associated activities at NASA Ames Research Center. The presentation will communicate the requirements that drive the program, the assets available to NASA researchers, and discuss research projects that have used unmanned aircraft systems. Other topics will include the SIERRA and Dragon Eye UAV projects operated at Ames and ideas on encorporating U Porto underwater assets into future Earth Science missions involving physical or biological oceanography.

Short Biography

Matt Fladeland is a research scientist and serves as Airborne Science Manager and Acting Deputy Division Chief in the Earth Science Division at NASA ARC. His responsibilities involve supporting advanced planning and requirements analysis for the SMD Airborne Science Program in addition to managing a diverse staff of engineers that support NASA science aircraft. He is also involved in several projects that use unmanned aircraft to make observations of Earth. One recent project involved a NASA Dragon Eye collecting sulfur dioxide measurements over the Kilauea volcano in support of JPL PI Dave Pieri. Matt’s background lies in the remote sensing of ecosystems to understand the carbon cycle and carbon emissions. He holds an M.S. from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.A. from the Gustavus Adolphus College’s Department of Biology. 

Joao Barbosa

In-Situs Visualization : Addressing earth sciences scientific visualization challenges

Today with the increase of deployed assets and sensor networks the amount of spatial and temporal data being archived gives rise to new and exciting challenges both regarding data exploration and visualization. High-performance computing resources are now becoming more a valuable resource for earth sciences and the only strategy to handle, explore and visualize the “tsunami” of information being generated and collected.
This presentation will give a brief introduction to the Texas Advanced Computing Center and our current approach to make HPC resources accessible to non-traditional stakeholders, such as the earth science researchers. It will focus on the TACC visualization team effort to develop a new pipeline of software define scientific visualization tools.

Short Biography

Joao Barbosa joined  TACC Scalable Visualization team in 2011 as a Graduate Research Assistant while pursuing a Dual Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin and the Portuguese MAP-i program in High-Performance Graphics. Now as full-time Research Associate at TACC, Joao has worked in several SciVis projects that range from high-level applications such as Gas and Oil to low-level high-performance software packages such as GraviT and pvOSPRay in partnership with leading hardware and software companies. His current research focus lays in high performance real-time in-situs photo-realistic ray tracing for SciVis.

David Palma

Software-Defined Intermittent Networking and H2020 Marie-Curie Actions Individual Fellowships

Operating in oceans and seas across the world various types of vehicles, buoys and sensors exist. Moreover, their availability has increased in high-latitude regions, due to their socio-economic impact, creating several communication challenges. This presentation introduces the SINet project and the obtained results in the process of developing an
integrated communication system for intermittent links in the Arctic. Heterogeneity and networking robustness are two key aspects of this project that will be discussed. The presented work is funded by an H2020 Marie-Curie Action Individual Fellowship, which promotes mobility of experienced researchers worldwide.

Short Biography

David Palma received the Ph.D. degree in information science and technology from the University of Coimbra. He has been a Researcher and Assistant Professor at the University of Coimbra and worked at OneSource as a Project Manager. He is currently an H2020 Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Information Security and Communication Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His current research interests are on Routing, IoT, and software-defined networking, subjects on which he has authored and co-authored multiple papers in refereed conferences and journals. He has participated in several TPCs, national, and international research projects (FP6, FP7, and H2020), and in the preparation of successful research proposals.

Alessandro Rucco

Optimization guidance strategies for (constrained) UAVs: Applications for target tracking of ground and marine vehicles

The main aim of this talk is to present novel optimal control based methods for trajectory optimization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with applications to target tracking of ground and marine vehicles. Specifically, we first consider target tracking problems in which the UAV is used as a wireless communication relay to connect a marine vehicle and a ground station. We show how a Virtual Target Vehicle perspective and a moving path following method can be combined to efficiently design smooth UAV trajectories taking into account complex dynamics and constraints. Second, we consider the rendezvous problem of an UAV with an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). We present a framework for the UAV-UGV rendezvous that allows one to select the type of UAV trajectory. Finally, we show how the formulated optimal control problems can be solved by using PRONTO, a versatile control optimization tool.

Short Biography

Alessandro Rucco is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Università del Salento, Lecce, Italy, working on the ERC-granted project OPT4SMART, under the supervision of Prof. Giuseppe Notarstefano. He received the Ph.D. degree in Information Engineering from the Università del Salento, Lecce, Italy, in 2014. He was a Visiting Student with Supélec, University of Paris-Sud, Gif-sur-Yvette, France, in 2010, and the University of Colorado Boulder, USA, in 2012. He was a Team Leader of the VI-RTUS Team that won the International Student Competition Virtual Formula in 2012. He spent two years (August 2014-September 2016) as a Post-Doctoral Researcher with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto (FEUP), Porto, Portugal, where he was involved in motion planning and guidance of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles.

Humberto Ayres Pereira

Finding and sequencing business opportunities in the Unmanned Systems space

Unmanned Systems open opportunities for business creation. A taxonomy of economic activities is proposed for the space, and mapped against recent investment news. A taxonomy for full-stack software solutions is also proposed, and existing players represented on it.

Short Biography

Humberto Ayres Pereira is an EE from FEUP and MBA from Harvard. He was part of Team Caltech for the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. He has co-founded 4 businesses, the latest of which is an application building platform for non-tech people.