Space Tech-SEI Pioneer was born in collaboration with SEI – School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and an industrial partner, Leonardo S.p.A.. The project originates from the technical challenge of designing a solution for the autonomous management of a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in multi-objective, dynamic missions. Up to now, studies from literature have failed to satisfy the complex requirements from the user: they have considered simplified problems and they mostly focused on the performances of the algorithms.
In agreement with the partners, the application to Search & Rescue was selected. Three main points were evaluated: firstly, it is coherent with the request to consider complex inputs and inequalities among drones; secondly, the solution has large potentialities in expediting the search of who is in pressing need; and, lastly, it also relieves the operator from the danger of exploring impervious areas.
The design process followed systematic steps: a stakeholder analysis involved the application of user personas, supported by interviews; requirements were derived and, then, they were applied in the selection of the concept from the functional analysis. Interestingly, the process underlined that the availability of the complete paths of the drones is unnecessary at the onset of the operation and that similar approaches limit the flexibility of the code. Consequently, the final solution resulted in an optimization algorithm which follows a decomposition approach: once the inputs from the user are available, the regions to be scanned by each drone are identified; these are decomposed in sectors and, over each single sector, the waypoints and the path are progressively computed during the operation.
Additionally, the user experience was also analyzed, and a mock-up of the user interface was developed to satisfy the requirements. Overall, the validity of the solution has been proved with simulations in the Mission Planner environment.
Principal Academic Tutor:
Stefano Mauro (Politecnico di Torino)
Edoardo Sabbioni (Politecnico di Milano)
Isabella Timossi, SEI – School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Diyala D’Aveni, SEI – School of Entrepreneurship & Innovation