PhD Studentship: UAV Bridging and Real-time Deployment Protocols for Disaster Response Scenarios (PARR_U17SCID)

University of East Anglia - School of: Computing Science

Start Date: January 2017

Supervisor: Prof. Gerard Parr

Project description:

Rotor-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sometimes termed Drones) are gaining increased research interest due to their versatility and increased functionality in applications such as search & rescue, emergency response communications and remote data  capture in environmentally hostile scenarios (e.g. chemical leak or bio hazard).  However, because of their mobility and the complexity of deployed environments, the UAV platforms require real-time solutions for constant position awareness and collision avoidance with other UAVs and the surrounding physical environment. Also, to maximise information gained from the deployment environment, such platforms require increased autonomy to coordinate the actions of multiple UAVs and interaction with ground-based systems.   Such challenges have led to the development of numerous flight planning and coordination algorithms designed to maximise information gain during sensing missions. However, these have mainly neglected the need to maintain wireless network connectivity and Global Positioning System (GPS) data. In some extreme cases, GPS signals may be lost.  By incorporating bridging protocols and collision protocols into the search strategies, UAVs can adapt to the radio propagation characteristics of their environment, and integrate flight path and network routing decisions, so that uncertainty and the effect of UAV position on network performance are taken into account to ensure the success of a mission. This PhD project will tackle the problem of maintaining connectivity and collision avoidance on UAVs involved in a number of scenarios such as outdoor (wilderness) search and rescue missions and providing ad-hoc communications to ground systems in response to a disaster.   This project links from a previously successful EPSRC WINES 3 Project – Sensing Unmanned Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (SUAAVE) and previous  research by Professor Gerard Parr and his co-authors at Exeter, Ulster, UCL and Oxford.  It also links from a recent RCUK Digital Economy project that explored the use of UAVs for Flood Monitoring and its impact on Critical National Telecommunications Infrastructure such as broadband and wireless Telecommunications (base stations and exchanges).

Further Related Information is available at:

Collaboration: This project has the opportunity to collaborate with Dr Chunbo Luo at Exeter University.

Person specification:

  • BSc Computing Science/Electrical Engineering or Cognate Discipline (1st or 2.1 Hons)
  • MSc in Computer Networking/Telecommunications/Electrical Engineering or Cognate Discipline
  • As a Desirable- it will be useful for the successful candidate to have experience of network simulation tools, wireless telecommunications protocols and mathematical modelling of communications systems.

Funding notes:

This opportunity is directly funded by the University.

This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Non-European Students: In most cases if you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work with this supervisor will be considered.

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South East England