T2: Towards UAV-Based Airborne Computing: Applications, Design and Prototype

Organizers and Presenters

Yan Wan
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA

Kejie Lu
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Shengli Fu
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA

Junfei Xie
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

Tutorial Summary

In recent years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have attracted significant attention from industry, governments, and academia. To design and implement future UAV systems and applications, many researchers and engineers have been working on different UAV functions in various domains, such as control, communications, networking, etc. While all these UAV functions require advanced onboard computing capabilities, they are usually designed separately and there is a lack of a general framework to exploit airborne computing for all onboard UAV functions.

In this tutorial, our objective is to address this timely and important issue by exploring a new and cross-disciplinary area: UAV-based airborne computing. Specifically, we will first systematically analyze existing and emerging UAV applications and then demonstrate how airborne computing can help to facilitate advanced UAV functions and UAV applications. Based on such analysis, we will discuss and summarize important design guidelines for future generations of UAV systems with airborne computing capabilities. We will then introduce our latest design of a general UAV-based airborne computing platform and demonstrate various applications using the computing prototype. Finally, we will invite the audience to participate in interactive experiments using our prototype, and we will discuss open issues and important future directions before concluding the tutorial.

Topics to be Covered

  • Introduction: Market trend, regulation and policy, UAV applications, and the motivation for networked airborne computing.
  • Comprehensive Analysis for UAV-based applications: A classification for UAV-based applications, a layered model for analysis and design including the mission, task, and function layers, computing-enabled UAV functions including control, communication, networking, and computing, and computing-enabled UAV applications.
  • A General UAV-based airborne computing platform: system overview, components including quadcopter, control, communication and computing, the prototypes, and computing-enabled UAV functions including reinforcement-learning based heading control, image processing based three0dinensional terrain map generation, deep-learning-based onboard object detection and coded distributed computing.
  • Interactive demonstrations of the latest networked airborne computing prototype including processor and carrier board, directional antenna system, virtualization technologies, and software defined radio and advanced UAV functions.
  • Summary, discussion, and feedback.

Intended Audience

Students, researchers, and developers interested in the development of advanced UAV functions and novel UAV applications, with a background in aerospace, control, communication, networking, or computing.

Tutorial References

  • Airborne Computing Networks Project Website (NSF Projects 1730675, 1730589, 1730570, 1730325) http://www.uta.edu/utari/research/robotics/airborne/index.php
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  • B. Wang, J. Xie, S. Li, Y. Wan, Y. Gu, S. Fu, and K. Lu, “Computing in the Air: An Open Airborne Computing Platform,” IET Communications, vol. 14, no. 15, pp. 2410-2419,  September 2020.
  • M. Liu, Y. Wan, S. Li, F. Lewis, and S. Fu, “Learning and Uncertainty-exploited Directional Antenna Control for Robust Long-distance and Broad-band Aerial Communication,” IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technologies, vol. 69, no. 1, pp. 593-606, January 2020.
  • K. Lu, J. Xie, Y. Wan, Shengli Fu, “Towards UAV-Based Airborne Computing,” IEEE Wireless Communications Magazine, Vol. 26, No. 6, pp. 172-179, Dec. 2019.
  • J. Xie, Y. Wan, B. Wang, S. Fu, and J. H. Kim, “A Comprehensive 3-Dimensional Random Mobility Modeling Framework for Airborne Networks,” IEEE Access, vol. 6, pp. 22849 – 22862, March 2018.
  • S. Li, C. He, M. Liu, Y. Wan, Y. Gu, J. Xie, S. Fu, and K. Lu, “Design and Implementation of Aerial Communication Using Directional Antennas: Learning Control in Unknown Communication Environment,” IET Control Theory and Application, vol. 13, no. 17, pp. 2906-2916, November 2019.
  • S. Li, Y. Gu, S. Bishrut, C. He, and Y. Wan, “Beyond Visual Line of Sight UAV Control for Remote Monitoring using Directional Antennas,” in Proceedings of IEEE GLOBECOM 2019 Workshop on Computing-Centric Drone Networks, Waikoloa, Hawaii, December 2019.
  • B. Wang, J. Xie, K. Lu, Y. Wan, and S. Fu, “Coding for Heterogeneous UAV-based Networked Airborne Computing,” in Proceedings of IEEE GLOBECOM 2019 Workshop on Computing-Centric Drone Networks, Waikoloa, Hawaii, December 2019.
  • Y. Qi, D. Wang, J. Xie, K. Lu, Y. Wan, and S. Fu, “BirdsEyeView: Aerial View Dataset for Object Classification and Detection,” in Proceedings of IEEE GLOBECOM 2019 Workshop on Computing-Centric Drone Networks, Waikoloa, Hawaii, December 2019.
  • M. Liu, Y. Wan, S. Li, F. Lewis, “Learning and Uncertainty-Exploited Directional Antenna Control for Robust Aerial Networking,” in Proceedings of IEEE Vehicle Technology Conference, accepted, Honolulu, Hawaii, September 2019.
  • M. Pinheiro, M. Liu, Y. Wan and A. Dogan, “On the Analysis of On-board Sensing and Off-board Sensing through Wireless Communication for UAV Path Planning in Wind Fields,” in Proceedings of AIAA Schitech, San Diego, CA, January 7-11, 2019.
  • B. Wang, J. Xie, and Y. Wan, “3-D Trajectory Modeling for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles”, in Proceedings of AIAA Scitech, San Diego, CA, January 7-11, 2019.
  • L. Yao, Y. Wan, S. Fu, and T. Yang, “Consensus in Layered Sensor Networks with Communication Delays,” in Proceedings of 15th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision, Singapore, November 18-21, 2018.
  • J. Xie, S. Li, Y. Wan, S. Fu, and K. Lu, “Enabling High-Performance Onboard Computing with Virtualization for Unmanned Aerial Systems”, in Proceedings of the 2018 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS’18), Dallas, TX, June 12-15, 2018.
  • J. Chen, J. Xie, Y. Gu, S. Li, S. Fu, Y. Wan, and K. Lu, “Long-Range and Broadband Aerial Communication Using Directional Antennas (ACDA): Design and Implementation”, IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, Vol. 66, No. 12, pp. 10893-10805, December 2017.
  • S. Li, M. Liu, C. He, Y. Wan, Y. Gu, J. Xie, S. Fu, and K. Lu, “The Design and Implementation of Aerial Communication Using Directional Antennas: Learning Control in Unknown Communication Environment,” IET Control Theory and Application, January 2019.  
  • B. Wang, J. Xie, S. Li, Y. Wan, S. Fu, and K. Lu, “Enabling High-Performance Onboard Computing with Virtualization for Unmanned Aerial Systems”, in Proceedings of the 2018 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS’18), Dallas, TX, June 12-15, 2018.
  • M. Pinhero, M. Liu, Y. Wan and A. Dogan,  “On the Analysis of On-board Sensing and Off-board Sensing through Wireless Communication for UAV Path Planning in Wind Fields,” in Proceedings of AIAA Schitech, January 2019.
  • B. Wang, J. Xie, Y. Wan, “3-D Trajectory Modeling for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles”, in Proceedings of AIAA Scitech, January 2019. 
  • L. Yao, Y. Wan, S. Fu, and T. Yang, “Consensus in Layered Sensor Networks with Communication Delays,” in Proceedings of 15th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision, Singapore, November 18-21, 2018.
  • V. Mejia, Y. Wan, F. L. Lewis, “Bayesian Graphical Games for Synchronization in Dynamical Systems,” in Proceedings of American Control Conference, Milwaukee, MI, June, 2018.
  • J. Chen, Z. Zhang, S. Fu, and J. Hu, “A joint update parallel MCMC method based sparse code multiple access decoder,” IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, Vol. 67, no. 2, pp. 1280-1291, Feb. 2018.
  • H. Liu, X. Dong, F. L. Lewis, Y. Wan, and K. Valavanis, “Robust Formation Control for Multiple Quadrotors Subject to Nonlinear Dynamics and Disturbances,” in Proceedings of  the 14th IEEE International Conference on Control & Automation, ICCA 2018, Anchorage, Alaska, June 12-15, 2018. Best Paper Award
  • W. Hou, R. Zhang, W. Qi, K. Lu, J. Wang, L. Guo, “A Provident Resource Defragmentation Framework for Mobile Cloud Computing,” IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 32-44, Jan. 2018.
  • M. Liu, Y. Wan, and F. L. Lewis, “Analysis of the Random Direction Random Mobility Model with A Sense-and-Avoid Protocol, in Proceedings of Wi-UAV Workshop, Globecom, December 2017.
  • J. Yan, Y. Wan, S. Fu, J. Xie, S. Li, and K. Lu, “Received signal strength indicator-based decentralised control for robust long-range aerial networking using directional antennas”, IET Control Theory and Applications, vol. 11, no. 11, pp. 1838-1847, July 2017.
  • J. Xie, Y. Wan, K. Mills, J. J. Filliben, and F. L. Lewis, “A Scalable Sampling Method to High-dimensional Uncertainties for Optimal and Reinforcement Learning-based Controls”, IEEE Control Systems Letters, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 98-103, July 2017.
  • B. Liu, D. Jia, K. Lu, D. Ngoduy, J. Wang, L. Wu, “A Joint Control-Communication Design for Reliable Vehicle Platooning in Hybrid Traffic,” Published online, IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, May 2017.
  • M. J. Grabner, X. Li, and S. Fu, “A novel soft-output decoding method for integer spacetime block codes”, The IEEE MTT 2017 Texas Symposium on Wireless and Microwave Circuits and Systems, Waco, TX, March 2017.
  • B. Liu, D. Jia, J. Wang, K. Lu, L. Wu, “Cloud-Assisted Safety Message Dissemination in VANET-Cellular Heterogeneous Wireless Network,” IEEE System Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 128-139, Mar. 2017.
  • S. Fu and Y. Wan, “Communicating in Remote Areas or Disaster Situations using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” HDIAC Journal, pp. 4-8, vol. 2, no. 4, Winter 2016. 
  • J. Wang, J. Ren, K. Lu, J. Wang, S. Liu, C. Westphal, “A Minimum Cost Cache Management Framework for Information-Centric Networks with Network Coding,” Computer Networks, Vol. 110, pp. 1-17, Dec. 2016.
  • W. Qi, J. Wang, H. Hovhannisyan, K. Lu, J. Wang, J. Zhu, “A Generic Mitigation Framework against Cross – VM Covert Channels,” in Proc. IEEE ICCCN 2016, Aug. 2016. (Best Paper Award in IEEE ICCCN2016).
  • D. Jia, K. Lu, J. Wang, X. Zhang, and S. Shen, “A Survey on Platoon-Based Vehicular Cyber-Physical Systems,” IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 263-284, Mar. 2016.
  • J. Xie, F. Al-Emrani, Y. Gu, Y. Wan and S. Fu, “UAV-Carried Long Distance Wi-Fi Communication Infrastructure”, in Proceedings of AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, San Diego,  January 2016.
  • Y. Wan, S. Fu, J. Zander, and P. J. Mosterman, “Transforming On-Demand Communications with Drones: The Needs, Analyses, and Solutions,” Homeland Security Today Magazine, pp. 32-35, April/May 2015.
  • Y. Gu, M. Zhou, S. Fu, and Y.  Wan, “Airborne WiFi Networks through Directional Antennae: An Experimental Study’’, in Proceedings of 2015 IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference, 2015. Best Paper Award