Flight Autonomous Light Cooperative Observation System
Project FALCOS (Flight Autonomous Light Cooperative Observation System) concept is the development of a cooperative system of autonomous aerial vehicles (AAV) for observation and remote monitoring purposes.
The objective is to develop a set of AAVs capable of autonomous flight, take-off and landing. The vehicles will carry an onboard computational system in order to perform complex missions autonomously. The onboard CPU must not only control the plane flight but also support application specific software and related hardware interface.
The AAVs will carry dedicated digital cameras and vision sensors (either in the visible spectrum or infrared) to perform monitoring and surveillance tasks. The on board computer will allow the autonomous vehicle operation in tasks such as the detection of forest fires, pollution oceanic spills, find and rescue operations at sea, surveillance etc.
The FALCOS concept relies not only in each vehicle capabilities but in the possibility of using a larger set of systems (possibly heterogeneous) in a cooperative and autonomous mode. The overall mission range and duration is provided not only by a single vehicle but by the global system.
The FALCOS UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is being developed at ISEP - Autonomous Systems Laboratory.
One of RC model test prototypes
An electric propulsion system was chosen keeping in mind, higher control capabilities, and safety operation in fire sensitive areas. With additional advantages in terms of ecological pollution an noise reduction.
During the development phase a low cost , open avionics solution is being tested in RC airplane models along with the design of a custom airframe allowing extended operational range and duration.
A low cost , small size (35x35x35 mm) inertial navigation system prototype was built with tri-axial accelerometer and rate gyro measurements. This system integrates also measurements from pressure based sensors (altimeter and pitot). A RISC ARM microcontroller performs low level sensor interface and filtering and provides flexibility in the information output and connection with other sensors.
Inertial motion measurement unit prototype
A low cost GPS RTK solution is under development to provide not only absolute positioning information but also vehicle attitude determination. This system can be tightly integrated with the inertial subsystem providing a complete navigation solution for mobile vehicles.
Some flight test GPS data
The autonomous systems laboratory expertise in machine vision is incorporated in a dedicated vision sensor with hardware parallel processing features. This sensor (BoaVista) is configurable and performs intensive image processing providing high level scene information extracted from the raw image sensor.