Development and integration of an autonomous UAV into an urban security system
Brand, Hendrik Gideon
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The aim of this project is to develop an integrated security system making use of a UAV. The majority of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been developed for military applications. The regulation for flying in the national airspace system (NAS) is being finalised which has shifted the focus to the development of UAVs for civilian applications. One of these applications is security systems. The problem, however, is that UAVs have not been effectively integrated with the human systems. A fixed-wing miniature (mini) UAV is developed for the purpose of this project. Typical security systems, including South African systems, are analysed. Silver Lakes Golf Estate — that already has a well managed and effective ground security system — is the reference urban security site. The role of a mini UAV in this type of security system is determined. Consequently, it is possible to determine the requirements for full integration into this security system. Investigation is done into the most suitable UAV for application in the security system. A UAV is subsequently developed to fulfil these requirements. The UAV is then compared to presently available UAVs in terms of cost and features. This gives the benchmark for the requirements of a successful UAV. The UAV is tested to measure the extent to which it fulfils the requirements of a UAV. A flight-test procedure is developed to do the initial flight-testing. The requirements of the UAV flight are: stable flight, accurate way-point tracking and height control. The requirements for integration into an urban security system are subsequently tested which include: testing the range, endurance, ground control station (GCS) and video feed. To ensure that these results are correct, the sensor data are validated. The sensors that were tested are the pressure sensor, global positioning system (GPS) sensor and airspeed sensor. It is found that the UAV was capable of stable flight while accurately following way-points and maintaining the preset height. The range of the telemetry systems and the endurance of the UAV are sufficient to monitor the reference urban security site. The UAV is able to stream live video and all the necessary information is displayed on the GCS. Further research is required for analysing video feed software. The UAV also requires autonomous take-off and landing capabilities to simplify operation. The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) needs to be tested by implementing it in an urban environment. Finally, obstacle-avoidance capabilities can be incorporated for avoiding crashes and consequently increasing safety.
- Engineering