The Multi-user Multi-vehicle Mission Controller (M3C) provides mission planning and execution capabilities for teams of UAVs (drones) and UGVs (rovers). The M3C package provides mission planning and execution capabilities for teams of UAVs (drones) and UGVs (rovers). We developed this system to enable command and control of autonomous vehicles.
- Multiple target types, including waypoints (single-location targets), line (e.g., inspecting roadways or pipelines), perimeter (e.g., monitoring the boundary of a building or region), and filled region (e.g., searching for a target within a field).
- Support for UAVs and UGVs.
- Support for a mix of real and simulated (virtual) vehicles.
- Tight integration with hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) and software-in-the-loop (SITL) simulation.
- Automated mission planning, with the ability to easily incorporate custom algorithms.
- Human-on-the-loop features, including the ability to modify computer-generated asset routes (missions).
- Mission plans may be re-generated dynamically, while vehicles are en route. This is especially helpful if targets are added, or if certain vehicles are no longer available.
- Multiple ground stations may be networked, allowing multiple users to request targets, or to run simulated vehicles on distributed remote computers.
- We have customer a flight controller for our UAVs, allowing for automated (centralized) control or autonomous flight (i.e., each vehicle creates its own missions). The simulation capabilities of the system allow safe testing in the lab before flying outside.
Tasks in Process
Now that we have the user interface (UI) framework in place, we can turn our focus to tasks that are in our wheelhouse. For example:
- Incorporate algorithms for optimal centralized mission planning (i.e., the ground station makes routes for all vehicles).
- Develop algorithms for decentralized/autonomous mission planning and execution (i.e., each vehicle makes its own route).
- Develop hybrid control strategies that combine centralized and decentralized control.
- Test and evaluate “1-to-many” control for swarms, allowing a single user to manage multiple drones and or ground vehicles.
- Execute missions with our fleet of UAVs/UGVs outside (we’re just waiting for the winter weather to clear).
Please contact Chase Murray with feature requests, or to become a system tester. We’re particularly interested in new opportunities to deploy this application.