Modeling Aircraft Position and Conservatively Calculating Airspace Violations for an Autonomous Collision Awareness System for Unmanned Aerial Systems
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With the scheduled 30 September 2015 integration of Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) into the national airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is concerned with UAS capabilities to sense and avoid conflicts. Since the operator is outside the cockpit, the proposed collision awareness plugin (CAPlugin), based on probability and error propagation, conservatively predicts potential conflicts with other aircraft and airspaces, thus increasing the operator's situational awareness. The conflict predictions are calculated using a forward state estimator (FSE) and a conflict calculator. Predicting an aircraft's position, modeled as a mixed Gaussian distribution, is the FSE's responsibility. Furthermore, the FSE supports aircraft engaged in the following three flight modes: free flight, flight path following and orbits. The conflict calculator uses the FSE result to calculate the conflict probability between an aircraft and airspace or another aircraft. Finally, the CAPlugin determines the highest conflict probability and warns the operator. In addition to discussing the FSE free flight, FSE orbit and the airspace conflict calculator, this thesis describes how each algorithm is implemented and tested. Lastly two simulations demonstrates the CAPlugin's capabilities.