Title page for ETD etd-12212009-220642

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Brewer, Eric Thomas
Author's Email Address etb5005@vt.edu
URN etd-12212009-220642
Title Autonomous Localization of 1/R^2 Sources Using an Aerial Platform
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kochersberger, Kevin Bruce Committee Chair
Southward, Steve C. Committee Member
Sultan, Cornel Committee Member
  • VTOL
  • Autonomous
  • Source Localization
  • UAV
Date of Defense 2009-12-09
Availability unrestricted
Unmanned vehicles are often used in time-critical missions such as reconnaissance or

search and rescue. To this end, this thesis provides autonomous localization and mapping

tools for 1=R2 sources. A \1=R2" source is one in which the received intensity of the source

is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. An autonomous

localization algorithm is developed which utilizes a particle swarm particle ltering method

to recursively estimate the location of a source.

To implement the localization algorithm experimentally, a command interface with

Virginia Tech's autonomous helicopter was developed. The interface accepts state informa-

tion from the helicopter, and returns command inputs to drive the helicopter autonomously

to the source. To make the use of the system more intuitive, a graphical user interface was

developed which provides localization functionality as well as a waypoint navigation outer-

loop controller for the helicopter. This assists in positioning the helicopter and returning it

home after the the algorithm is completed.

An autonomous mapping mission with a radioactive source is presented, along with a

localization experiment utilizing simulated sensor readings.

This work is the rst phase of an on-going project at the Unmanned Systems Lab.

Accordingly, this thesis also provides a framework for its continuation in the next phase of

the project.

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