An Integrated Software Environment for UAV Missions Support 2013-01-2189
This paper describes the design and development of a virtual environment conceived to support flight operations of an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) used for wind mapping in the proximity of existing or planned wind farms. The virtual environment can be used in pre-flight briefings aiming to define a trajectory from a list of waypoints, to change and eventually re-plan the mission in case of intersection with no fly zones, to simulate the mission, and to preview images/videos taken from the UAV on-board cameras. During flight, the tool can be used to compute the wind speed along the trajectory by analyzing the data streaming from the UAV. The integration of Augmented Reality (AR) techniques in the flight environment provides assistance in remotely piloted landings, and allows visualizing flight and environmental information that are critical to the mission. For example, when spatial and temporal knowledge of the wind speed is required, AR can be used to overlap wind speed vectors to the external real environment. Eventually, wind vectors and UAV position and attitude can be visualized in a Virtual Reality systems based on Cave Automatic Virtual Environments (CAVE) or stereoscopic view. Tests shows that the proposed tool and methodology can effectively support wind speed detection missions since it can improve operational safety and contribute to the accomplishment of mission goals.