Secure Communication System for Multi-Vehicle Coordination
Cal Poly Pomona is working on a project that involves coordination between multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). Such coordination has many advantages such as the ability to handle more complex task, ability to tackle a task with increased robustness and efficiency, and reduced cost of operation. One of the main challenges, however, is the communication system among the vehicles and between the vehicles and Ground Control Station (GCS). Communication subsystem is one of the most critical components of unamend system operation. A robust and reliable communication system is required for safe operation of unmanned vehicles and for integrity of the information stored. Also, UAVs are limited by size, power, and weight. Productive solutions that increase range and reliability while not adding additional weight, complexity, and power consumption are required. The link must support transfer of both high bandwidth surveillance data and command/control messages. Currently, two aerial vehicle platforms and one ground vehicle platform are being used for the multi-vehicle coordination. The developed communication system provides data required for autonomous flight operation, target identification and verification, simultaneous flight of two UAVs, payload delivery, etc. A common message protocol has been implemented on all the platforms. Also, at a time when the unmanned vehicle operation is becoming increasingly network-centric, the communication links must be secure in order to prevent outside interference and attacks. The communication system has been tested experimentally with the UAVs, UGV, and the GCS in the loop. In the event when the communication link fails, the system allows the human operators to take control of the vehicles, thereby preventing the loss of vehicles and expensive onboard equipment. Future work will involve further increasing the interoperability and security of the communication system in order to reduce development time while using with any other unmanned systems.
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