University of California, Riverside

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Sense and Avoid for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Sense and Avoid for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Sense and Avoid for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

May 20, 2013 - 11:00 am
Winston Chung Hall, 205/206


Though Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have gained widespread popularity for several applications in recent years, practical issues in sharing the airspace safely with other manned aircraft has been a significant challenge facing the industry. For manned aircrafts, the FAA provides several separation services and in addition requires the pilot to actively search the sky for other airspace users and maneuver to avoid a collision. This responsibility, known as "see and avoid," is not directly applicable to UAVs as there is no pilot on-board. The inability of UAS to Sense and Avoid (SAA) other air traffic remains as the major technology barrier in providing UAS with access to the NAS. The SAA capability will allow UAS to achieve an "equivalent level of safety", comparable to see-and-avoid requirements for manned aircraft, and ensure that UAS do not disrupt other airspace users. This talk will start with an overview of the SAA problem and focus on the efforts to address it both in the wider community and at Utopia Compression Corporation. Funded by the Air Force and DARPA, Utopia Compression has been actively involved in developing SAA technologies, ranging from sensor development, target detection and tracking, to 3D information extraction, collision avoidance with air traffic and cloud avoidance. These technologies provide inexpensive and low size, weight and power airborne SAA solutions to detect and avoid non-cooperative aircraft. The talk will conclude with a brief discussion on a related problem in the maritime domain - the need of SAA capability for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs).


Bai received the B.S. degree in automation from University of Science and Technology of China in 2005. He completed the M.S. and Ph.D. Degrees in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). His doctoral research contribution was summarized in the research monograph "Cooperative Control Design: A Systematic, Passivity-based Approach", He Bai, Murak Arcak and John Wen, in Series of Communication and Control Engineering, Springer, 2011. Before joining Utopia Compression Corporation, he has served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory for Intelligent Mechanical Systems of Northwestern University. His postdoc research focuses on robust distributed estimation and control laws for environmental sensing. At Utopia Compression, he is currently one of the technical leads on a number of projects related to Sense and Avoid (SAA) and integrating UAS into national airspace. He is also the principal investigator of an Air Force project on coordinated path planning for multi-target tracking. Dr. Bai's research interests include coordination of unmanned robotic systems, sensor networks, control and optimization theory, machine learning and artificial intelligence.


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University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
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Electrical and Computer Engineering
Suite 343 Winston Chung Hall
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521-0429

Tel: (951) 827-2484
Fax: (951) 827-2425
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