The Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles

Abstract

The Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV), at the University of Colorado at Boulder is a multidisciplinary center focused on technologies and applications of unmanned vehicle systems, including those that operate in the air, on land, in the sea, or in space. RECUV draws faculty and students from all departments of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Our approach is to address technical challenges in a collaborative environment such that faculty and students build upon ideas and expertise from different disciplines. Synergy is derived from the integration of telecommunications, networks, robotics, and security, with the traditional aerospace engineering disciplines of aerodynamics, structures, navigation, control, and vehicle design. A current research focus is the design, development, and deployment of ad hoc communications and sensor networks with mobility enabled by a variety of vehicles. In most scenarios, the vehicles are small, and inexpensive, with low individual capability. Collective capabilities and emergent behaviors obtained through loose control, cooperation, and collaboration yield a multitude of civil, commercial, and military applications.

The Ad hoc UAV to Ground network (AUGnet) project, sponsored by the ComCept division of L3-Communications, will be described. The goal of this project is to demonstrate an ad-hoc communications network with ground-ground, ground-air, and air-air scenarios. The network employs off-the-shelf 802.11 radios on stationary and mobile ground platforms, and carried by custom-built small UAVs. The novelty of the demonstrations is creating these network scenarios using equally capable radio nodes without dependence upon hubs and with inexpensive UAVs. Initial results from tests conducted in April 2004 will be presented.