This project is devoted to the design, development and experimentation of a
platform providing the middleware and the functionalities required for the
cooperation among aerial flying vehicles and a ground sensor-actuator wireless
network with mobile nodes. The platform will offer the self-deploying,
self-configuration and self-repairing features by means of the cooperation
of autonomous helicopters. These features are very relevant in natural and
urban environments without pre-existing infrastructure or when this infrastructure
is damaged or even completely destroyed. Two validation scenarios are
considered: Filming, and Disaster Management/Civil Security applications.
The general objective of the project is the design, development and
experimentation of a platform providing the middleware and all the functionalities
required for the cooperation of aerial flying objects, i.e. autonomous
helicopters, with a ground sensor-actuator wireless network, including ground
mobile nodes carried by persons and vehicles. The platform will enable the
operation in sites with difficult or impossible access and without communication
infrastructure. Then, the project considers the self-deploying of the network
by means of autonomous helicopters with the ability to transport and deploy
loads (communication equipment and nodes of the ground network).
To reach the above mentioned main goal, the project has the following supporting technical objectives:
- Develop a scalable and self-organizing ground sensor network integrating
mobile nodes and including not only low energy and light sensors (motes)
but also cameras and other sensors with higher energy requirements. This
objective will be addressed in Workpackage WP3 "Ground wireless sensor
network" of the Workplan.
- Develop the architecture and middleware required for the cooperation
of the heterogeneous objects including aerial vehicles, static sensor-actuator
nodes, and mobile nodes carried by ground vehicles and persons. The middleware
will make the communication among these heterogeneous nodes transparent
even if its topology changes. Such a middleware adds a level of abstraction
in order to simplify application development. This objective will be
addressed in the Workpackage WP2 "Architecture and Middleware" of the Workplan.
- Develop network-centric functionalities for operation. The project will
include the development of perception techniques required for the operation
of the network, including surveillance, localisation and tracking. Furthermore,
reliable co-operation strategies based on the explicit consideration of the
main sources of failures in the operation of the network will be considered. Thus,
reliability tools based on the use of multiple UAVs and the sensor network
will be developed. Particularly, the UAV communication breakdowns and GPS
degradation will be considered by exploiting redundancies in communication
and environment perception. This objective will be addressed in the Workpackage
WP5 "Functionalities for the operation" of the Workplan.
- Develop new cooperation techniques for tasks requiring strong interactions
between vehicles and between vehicles and the environment, such as lifting and
transporting by means of the cooperation of several UAVs carrying the same load.
This objective will be addressed in the Workpackage WP4 "Self-deployment
with co-operative UAVs" of the Workplan.