Congratulations to our research faculty, Dr. Hossein Rastgoftar, and Professor Ella Atkins for the new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant entitled “A Continuum Deformation Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management”.
Principal Investigator (PI) Rastgoftar, Co-PI Atkins, and aerospace graduate students will develop mathematical foundations to safely and efficiently coordinate the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) traffic envisioned to routinely fly above urban centers in this three-year project supported by the NSF Division of Civil, Mechanical, & Manufacturing Innovation. Per emerging UAS Traffic Management (UTM) standards, a dedicated transit airspace layer will assure UAS are separated from manned aircraft traffic allowing UAS to focus on coordinating with each other. The project is for a two-layer physics-based approach to route UAS as coordinated flow through high-density airspace transit channels. At the top “macroscopic” coordination layer, UAS will be assigned to traffic channels based on their destinations and physical ability to coordinate flight paths with each other. At the “microscopic” coordination layer, the existing continuum deformation cooperative control strategy will be extended to allow large-scale UAS groups to efficiently follow routes that respect airspace channel geometries backed by mathematical guarantees of collision avoidance. The project also defines an interface between macroscopic and microscopic layers to deal with unpredicted events and UAS failure in a resilient fashion. The theoretical achievements of the project will be supported by large-scale simulations and flight experiments.