ASSESSMENT OF FOREIGN OBJECT DEBRIS MANAGEMENT USING GROUP 1 UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS
Lee, Wee Leong
Yakimenko, Oleg A.
Papoulias, Fotis A.
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The level of unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology provides an opportunity to improve productivity and at the same time increase safety in airport operations. This thesis aims to study the requirements of a system of Group 1 UAS swarm to perform foreign object debris (FOD) management at an airport. A concept of operations of the Automated FOD Detection System (AFDS) was designed, and the graphical user interface (GUI) was developed to prove the concept. A variety of image processing algorithms was developed in MATLAB to perform the functions of AFDS. FOD parameters such as its color and size, as well as the operating altitude of UAS and the image processing filter window size, were varied to determine the optimal AFDS configuration. This research involved hands-on experience of assessing the developed algorithms on board a commercial-off-the-shelf DJI UAS in a series of experiments conducted over a real runway at Camp Roberts, CA. The performance of the system in a large airport was assessed and the costs involved in implementing the system were determined. The results showed that FOD management using Group 1 UAS is feasible, with future work required in developing control algorithms of the UAS and testing them to eventually operationalize the AFDS.
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