Current technology overlooks such communication constraints and requires an operator(s) to distribute and pilot UAV’s. Sabo is working to develop an autonomous algorithm that would reduce the heavy load on the operator, allowing them to make better decisions throughout missions. As UAV’s are being utilized more frequently in both military and civilian operations, there is a dire need for Sabo’s ideal algorithm.
As our technology advances, autonomous vehicles and robots are being used to perform tasks considered to be dirty and dangerous in military and civil operations. Operations like those in nuclear power plants, exploration of Mars, investigating behind enemy lines in battlefields, wild-fire surveillance, border patrolling and weather forecasting commonly use UAV’s.
Sabo explains the growing need for her research, “The circumstances where UAVs are increasingly being used in supplying surveillance include search and rescue missions, forest fire monitoring, traffic surveillance, agricultural applications, pipe-line monitoring, border patrol, and military applications. Because of the numerous applications of UAVs, their presence will continue to grow. Effective and safe autonomous algorithms are necessary to ensure the continued integration of UAVs into shared air space."
"Therefore, as we move towards a world where much of our surveillance is being performed by small, lightweight, mobile sensors, limited communication ranges will always be a concern. However, this restriction makes the allocation of individual UAVs for cooperative strategies a very difficult problem and has been the focus of my dissertation work.”
In her dissertation work, Sabo experiments with and compares two extreme cases. First, UAV’s working completely independently to accomplish their tasks and then UAV’s staying in constant contact with each other. She states, “We’re going from the assumption that no matter where the vehicles are they are able to communicate freely to the assumption that they can only communicate if they are close enough to each other (their communication ranges overlap).” Historically, UAV’s have been shown to work together and share information, making them more efficient. Sabo’s research questions what information UAV’s should share, how often they should share information, whether or not they are going to share information, when and where they are going to meet to do so, whether they should stay in constant contact with one another, and would they work better as a group or should they work independently.
Presently, Sabo has resources allocated to experiment with algorithm validation this summer in UC’s Cooperative Distributed Systems Lab. However, she hasn’t yet had the opportunity for much hands-on, hardware experience. Sabo remarks, “Being accepted into the International Multicopter Girls Camp gives me the chance to bridge the gap between developing control algorithms in simulation to actually implementing them in real UAV hardware. This better prepares me to perform experimental testing and further understand the foundation on which this research is built. I believe the workshop will make my research all the more meaningful.”
The International Graduate School is funding the registration fee, accommodations and travel to Ilmenau for the 8 undergraduate and graduate students. Each student's objective is to deploy a small UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) swarm, which is capable of creating a disaster relief network in the air and on the ground. This multicopter workshop opens numerous new doors for Sabo’s graduate research and for her future career.
Sabo enthusiastically prepares for a future in research, focusing on developing systems. As an Associate Member of the Intelligent Systems Technical Committee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, she has discovered an interest and plans to pursue work in Intelligent Systems.
Nobody could be more proud of Sabo than her advisor, associate professor Cohen. He reflects, “I firmly believe that in the past 5 years, I have known no other graduate student who has achieved as much as Ms. Chelsea Sabo in our program at the University of Cincinnati.”
Sabo’s outstanding achievements and promising research contribute to UC’s reputation for excellence taking flight!