Prospective Architectures for Onboard vs Cloud-based Decision Making for Unmanned Aerial Systems

Shankar Sankararaman and Christopher Teubert
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Full Paper
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phmc_17_044.pdf924.85 KBSeptember 12, 2017 - 2:30pm

This paper investigates propsective architectures for decision-making in unmanned aerial systems. When these unmanned vehicles operate in urban environments, there are several sources of uncertainty that affect their behavior, and decision-making algorithms need to be robust to account for these different sources of uncertainty. It is important to account for several risk-factors that affect the flight of these unmanned systems, and facilitate decision-making by taking into consideration these various risk-factors. In addition, there are several technical challenges related to autonomous flight of unmanned aerial systems; these challenges include sensing, obstacle detection, path planning and navigation, trajectory generation and selection, etc. Many of these activities require significant computational power and in many situations, all of these activities need to be performed in real-time. In order to efficiently integrate these activities, it is important to develop a systematic architecture that can facilitate real-time decision-making. Four prospective architectures are discussed in this paper; on one end of the spectrum, the first architecture considers all activities/computations being performed onboard the vehicle whereas on the other end of the spectrum, the fourth and final architecture considers all activities/computations being performed in the cloud, using a new service known as ``Prognostics as a Service'' that is being developed at NASA Ames Research Center. The four different architectures are compared, their advantages and disadvantages are explained and conclusions are presented.

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Submission Keywords: 
unmanned systems
Submission Topic Areas: 
Health management system design and engineering
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