Air Force Institute of Technology, Graduate School of Engineering and Management (AFIT/EN) Wright-Patterson AFB United States
This research developed a method for multiple Unmanned Aircraft Systems UAS to efficiently collect data from a Wireless Sensor Networks WSN. WSN are composed of any number of fixed, ground-based sensors that collect and upload local environmental data to over flying UAS. The three-step method first uniquely assigns aircraft to specific sensors on the ground. Second, an efficient flight path is calculated to minimize the aircraft flight time required to verify their assigned sensors. Finally, sensors reporting relatively higher rates of local environmental activity are re-assigned to dedicated aircraft tasked with concentrating on only those sensors. This work was sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Control Sciences branch, at Wright Patterson AFB. Based on simulated scenarios and preliminary flight tests, optimal flight paths resulted in a 14 to 32 reduction in flight time and distance when compared to traditional flight planning methods.