Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seven Professors Around The Globe Tell Us How They Conduct UVS Research

Why did Professor Rastko Selmic of Louisiana Tech University choose Quanser when it came to building his unmanned vehicle laboratory? His rationale was straightforward.  “The system is easy to operate”, he says, “offers rapid prototyping and testing of algorithms, and can be used in a variety of teaching and research setups.” 

Professor Selmic’s reasons are echoed by professors around the world who are studying the control of unmanned air and ground vehicles.  Many of them have told us they value the efficiency of Quanser technology in general and our UVS Lab in particular. Others have added they appreciate how Quanser can help them build a fully-functioning indoor UVS lab that is safe, reliable and accurate.

With that in mind, here’s a look at just some labs currently using Quanser UVS technology.

The Naval Postgraduate School, San Diego, California
The Quanser control lab at Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) supports all control-related courses in NPS’s Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (GSEAS). “All our School of Engineering (SE), Mechanical and Astronautical  (MAE) and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students take basic control classes, says Professor Oleg Yakimenko, “with some going on to take further (modern) control classes.”

Professor Yakimenko and his team are currently working on developing "Detect-Sense-and-Avoid:” (DSA) technology/algorithms for indoor Qballs and Qbots that can easily be transferred to outdoor platforms.  They’re also working on collaborative missions for heterogenous unmanned formations (involving ground and aerial vehicles) that also can be transferred to and tested in a real-world environment.

In his lab at the Naval Postgraduate School, Prof. Yakimenko demonstrates four Qballs trying to maintain a formation while following a Qbot ground vehicle.
Professor Yakimenko has found that transitioning to a Quanser UVS Lab is fairly easy for NPS students, since Quanser experiments and QUARC software seamlessly integrate with MATLAB/Simulink for rapid controls prototyping and hard-in-the-loop testing.  

He also cites Quanser lab manuals as another reason NPS chose Quanser UVS solutions. “They support Quick Start operations and help things get going quickly.” In the end, he says, “the Quanser UVS Lab provides hands-on experience for a diverse group of students who have a wide range of different backgrounds.”

To view video of Dr. Yakimenko's work on "Detect-Sense-Avoid" technology using the Quanser UVS Lab, click here.  To learn more about Quanser's UVS Lab at NPS, click here.

University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
At the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering in Scotland, Dr. David Anderson runs the SELEX Galileo Micro Air Systems Technology  (MAST) Laboratory. 

The MAST Lab includes Quanser unmanned ground and aerial vehicles (the Qbot and Qball), along with the Optitrack™ motion capture system that allows accurate tracking of multiple bodies and the subsequent studies of multi-agent control and navigation. 

Currently Professor Anderson and his team are using the Qball to conduct research into a number of areas. They are looking at designing cooperative flight and sightline controllers for practical laser wireless power transfer and, to that end, are building a laser transceiver to mount on the Qball and a ground based laser pointer. Another area they’re investigating is the use of a Qball to demonstrate the effectiveness of nonlinear flight stabilization controllers for constrained flight in atmospheric turbulence. 

Professor Anderson and his team say they appreciate Quanser UVS Systems for their flexibility and the ease of development provided by QUARC rapid control prototyping software.  To see the Quanser Qball in flight at MAST Lab, click here.  

Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
Professor Youmin Zhang and his team from Concordia University’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering have been working with Qbots and Qballs on fault tolerant formation and cooperative control. 

One area of their most recent research uses one Qball, one Qbot and two Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV), while another is focusing on cooperative control of UGVs only.  

From a teaching perspective, Professor Zhang finds his students are more motivated to come to class and learn because the hands-on Quanser system helped them bridge the gap between theory and practical engineering practice. He also is very pleased with that the system was designed for safe, reliable indoor use.

To learn more about Professor Zhang's work in flight control and networked autonomous vehicles, click here.
Professor Zhang at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada uses his Quanser UVS  technology for  both teaching and research.  He finds the combination of latest technology and hands-on learning motivates students because it helps them link theory to practice.
UVS Academic Research, China
A number of universities in China are using Quanser Qbot UGVs and Qball UAVs, to investigate flight and multi-vehicle control.  They include:

Northeastern University:  Professor Dingyu Xue uses Quanser Qballs and Qbot to conduct research on coordinated control. 

Harbin Institute of Technology:   Professor Zhenkai Wange uses the Qball and Qbot for research work on flight control and multi-vehicle control.

Jiangnan University:   Professor Fei Liu, recently purchased two Qball UAVs and three Qbot UGVs to teach flight control and the more advanced control of the Internet of Things (IOT).

Besides citing the functional flexibility of the Quanser Unmanned Vehicle Lab System, all three professors have expressed appreciation for the high level of safety and convenience that Qbots and Qballs bring to the teaching of flight control. They also find that the equipment’s compatibility with the MATLAB®/Simulink® based solution is helpful in accelerating their research.

Moscow Aviation Institute, Moscow, Russia
Quanser recently visited the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) to install a UVS Lab in the Institute's Robotic and Intelligent Systems department.  MAI now has a complete Quanser UVS Lab with four Qballs and a Qbot.  To learn more about the research being planned, click here.

A Quanser UVS Lab in the process of being unpacked and installed at the Moscow Aviation Institute.

The fact that Quanser unmanned vehicle technology has attracted worldwide use indicates how well it is satisfying the needs of a diverse group of UVS researchers and teachers.  Stay tuned to the Quanser blog for more information on how Quanser UVS technology is helping advanced UVS research and teaching around the world.

To find out more about how Quanser's UVS Lab can assist your controls teaching or research, contact us at info@quanser.com.

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