An Exploration of the Acoustic Detection and Localization of Small Uncrewed Aerial Systems

dc.contributor.authorKeller, Jonathan Charlesen
dc.contributor.committeechairKochersberger, Kevin Bruceen
dc.contributor.committeememberFuller, Christopher R.en
dc.contributor.committeememberWoolsey, Craig A.en
dc.contributor.departmentMechanical Engineeringen
dc.description.abstractWith the increasing number of small Uncrewed Aerial Systems (sUAS) in the airspace, the need for robust Detect and Avoid (DAA) technologies is clear. This is especially true when considering the potential for non-cooperative aircraft with unknown intent. Many UAS use high resolution cameras to perform omnidirectional scans of their nearby airspace to localize traffic. These scans can be quite computationally expensive and often necessitate the use of costly and heavy hardware components. Ground-based solutions such as centralized, stationary towers are often expensive, difficult to proliferate, and have the disadvantage of not being onboard the aircraft and as such not always local to the airspace conflict. A feasibility exploration of acoustic detection and localization of non-cooperative aircraft using a low-cost microphone array, computationally inexpensive beamforming algorithms, and filtering techniques, is performed. The cost of the system is minimized by utilizing widely proliferated microphone hardware originally designed for short-range voice detection, as well as a small Uncrewed Aerial Systems (sUAS) from a developmental kit. Lastly, an exploration is conducted to maximize the detection range of the microphone system. A comparison of filtering techniques to try to filter sUAS self-noise is compared to alternative methods such as a ballistic sampling period where the motors of the sUAS are momentarily turned off to reduce noise. A final recommendation of a multi-sensor suite of microphones, cameras, along with other potential sensors, is determined.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralAs the number of drones increases throughout many industries, safe usage becomes very important. Industries such as search and rescue, infrastructure surveying, package delivery, and more, all have novel uses for drones that could change the way those industries operate. It is easy to imagine the benefit of same-day shipping with package-carrying drones, the quick location of a missing person by a search and rescue drone, and so on. However, obstacles such as buildings, trees, and other air traffic pose an obvious risk. Current methods to detect other aircraft often rely on cameras onboard the aircraft to spot nearby traffic. Other methods include using centralized stations on the ground to relay information about positioning between cooperating aircraft. These technologies provide functionality, but often can be expensive, heavy, require computers with large processing power, or assume the cooperation of the aircraft. An analysis of audio based detection of nearby drones is conducted. The microphones used were originally intended for use in home applications as a voice assistant. Programming techniques were used to listen and identify the sound of a nearby drone. Depending on the location of the drone, its sound would arrive to the microphones in unique time delays, providing a method of estimating the drone's position. Testing was performed on the ground and in the air to analyze the distance at which this microphone group could find a drone. Ultimately, a recommendation for the inclusion of microphones in a suite of sensors was made.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 Internationalen
dc.subjectDetect and Avoiden
dc.titleAn Exploration of the Acoustic Detection and Localization of Small Uncrewed Aerial Systemsen
dc.typeThesisen Engineeringen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen of Scienceen


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