Current Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) technology offers feasible technical solutions for airframes, flight control, communications, and base stations. In addition, the evolution of technology is miniaturizing most sensors used in airborne applications. Hence, sensors like weather radars, SAR, multi spectral line-scan devices, etc. in addition to visual and thermal cameras are being used as payload on board UAVs. As a result (UAVs) are slowly becoming efficient platforms that can be applied in scientific/commercial remote sensing applications. UAVs may offer interesting benefits in terms of cost, flexibility, endurance, etc. Even remote sensing in dangerous situations due to extreme climatic conditions (wind, cold, heat) are now seen as possible because the human factor on board the airborne platform is no longer present. However, the complexity of developing a full UAV-system tailored for remote sensing is currently limiting its practical application. Currently, only large organizations like NASA or NOAA have enough resources and infrastructure to develop such applications.
Even though the rapid evolution of UAV technology the generalized development of remote sensing applications is still limited by the absence of systems that support the development of the actual UAV sensing mission. Remote sensing engineers face the development of specific systems to control their desired flight-profile, sensor activation/confi guration along the flight, data storage and eventually its transmission to the ground control. All these elements may delay and increase the risk and cost of the project.
This work introduces a flexible and reusable architecture designed to facilitate the development of UAV-based remote sensing applications. Applications are developed following a service/subscription based software architecture. Each computation module may support multiple applications. Each application could create and subscribe to available services. Services could be discovered and consumed in a dynamic way like web services in the Internet domain. Applications could interchange information transparently from network topology, application implementation and actual data payload.
This flexibility is organized into an user-parameterizable UAV service abstraction layer (USAL). The USAL defines a collection of pre-defined services and their interrelations as a basic starting point for further development by users. Functionalities like enhanced flight-plans, mission control, data storage, communications management, etc. are offered. Additional services can be included according to requirements but all existing services and inter-service communication infrastructure can be exploited and tailored to specific needs. This approach reduces development times and risks, but at the same time gives the user higher levels of flexibility and permits the development of more ambitious applications.
As application scenario, we are developing a UAV system devoted to the detection, control and analysis of wildland forest fires in the Mediterranean area. The design of the proposed UAV system is composed of five main components. Each component will work collaboratively to constitute a platform of high added value.
CitacióBarrado, C. An Architecture for the seamlesss integration of UAV-based wildfire monitoring missions. A: Twelfth Biennial USDA Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Conference 2008. Salt Lake City:USDA, 2008
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