Among our current interests at the NIMBUS lab is creating a dynamic flight simulator, for drones, to be used as a test bed for control software designed for autonomous flight. The simulator is written in MatLab and will be used in the lab to test control algorithms and as well as new control techniques in cyber-physical co-regulation as part of future investigation. With this simulation design tool, we aim to introduce different control methods such as co-regulated variable sampling rate cyber-physical control to the UAVs in the lab, as well as perform pre-flight testing of control algorithms and trajectory planners.
Figure. UAV simulation graphic.
Cyber-physical co-regulation of UAVs becomes important when additional functionality is given to a vehicle to allow it to interact with the environment, which, is a main focus of the NIMBUS lab. As one example of such environmental interaction, we have designed and built a claw which we have attached to a UAV and used in lab demos. The claw consists of a simple worm driven system and is able to grab small objects and relocate them. Computer vision via on board camera has also been integrated into the claw system to locate and track objects. With the addition of this interactive functionality, such as the claw and others, cyber resources in the UAV system may become scarce. In this case deliberation of cyber resources must be approached carefully to maintain the performance of both the flight of the vehicle and the functionality of the additional onboard systems.
Figure. UAV with claw system attached
Dr. Justin Bradley – UNL Computer Science Faculty/NIMBUS Lab Director
Seth Doebbeling – MS Mechanical Engineering Student
Adam Plowcha, Ajay Shankar – PhD Computer Science Students
Other NIMBUS Lab directors and contributors