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About this book

This book reports on the design and development of a system that assists remote pilots during the landing procedure. In particular, it covers a previously neglected topic, namely the search for the best pathway and landing site. It describes the system’s components, such as the ultrasonic sensor, infrared sensor and optical sensor, in detail, and discusses the experimental tests carried out in both controlled laboratory and real-world environments. Providing a fascinating survey of the state of the art in the field of unmanned aircraft system electronics design and development, the book also presents recent advances in and cutting-edge methodologies for the development of acquisition systems and inexpensive sensor design for navigation data.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also denominated Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), have gained great attention for many applications in the scientific, civil, and military sectors. The aim of this book is to classify and choose a type of UAS and design an embedded sensors platform useful to assist the remote pilot during the landing procedure. The design and implementation of an electronic platform were performed by using a bouquet of low-cost sensors (ultrasonic, IR, Optics, etc.) for attitude control and obstacle-sense-and-avoid during the landing procedure at low altitude and low velocity.

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Chapter 2. Sonar Sensor Model for Safe Landing and Obstacle Detection

In UAS’s (Unmanned Aerial Systems) applications, it is important to find and track all scenario properties (e.g., obstacles). Performing obstacles and terrain avoidance from an UAS platform is challenging for several reasons (Valavanis 2007). The UAS limited payload and power available give significant limitations on the total size, weight, and power requirements of potential sensors. In this chapter, a Sonic Ranging (SR) sensor was used in order to detect any oblacles that surround the UAV. The system proposed it is able to detect obstacles like dolphins or bats do.

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Chapter 3. Atmosphere Effects on the SRS

Ultrasonic proximity sensors are a good compromise in terms of cost, energy efficiency, and accuracy for low distance obstacle detection. Various fields of interest could find this book interesting, for example, structural damage inspections in critical areas (e.g., L’Aquila earthquake, Italy, or hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas, US). Unfortunately, the measurements provided by ultrasonic sensors are affected by systematic errors due to relative humidity and atmospheric conditions. This chapter explains a method useful to correct, in real time, errors given by temperature and relative humidity on the sonar sensors measurements.

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Chapter 4. Integration Among Ultrasonic and Infrared Sensors

In this chapter, another distance sensor was considered in order to integrate the distance measurements for a good UAS navigation information (Sobers et al. 2009; Mustapha et al. 2012).

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Chapter 5. Optical Sensor for UAS Aided Landing

The installation of an optic sensor (i.e., camera) to a UAS allows the vehicle to perform a variety of tasks autonomously (Valavanis in Advances in unmanned aerial vehicles—state of art and the road to autonomy, Springer Science & Business Media, 2007). This chapter presents UAS vision system developed and tested at the Parthenope University of Naples (Department of Science and Technology) to perform an aid for the UAS during the landing procedure at low altitude.

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Chapter 6. UAS Endurance Enhancement

Most civilian uses of UASs require the air vehicle to fly at speeds lower than 50 kts (70 km/h) and at low heights, and many applications need the ability of the aircraft to hover (e.g., power line inspection, subsurface geology, mineral resource analysis, or incident control by police and fire services) (Chap. 1). Moreover, in some cases, this type of platform needs to execute extended missions with significant flight duration time. This chapter focuses on the flight time of the vehicle and proposes an alternative approach to improve the endurance of a non-expensive, commercial quadrotor, by applying a balloon to reduce weight and power consumption needed for flight.

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Chapter 7. Conclusions

This book wants to be a novelty contribution to the many topics covered in the UASs applications.

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