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Proceedings Paper

Automated launch, recovery, and refueling for small unmanned aerial vehicles
Author(s): Katherine Mullens; Aaron Burmeister; Mike Wills; Nicholas Stroumtsos; Thomas Denewiler; Kari Thomas; Stephen Stancliff
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Paper Abstract

Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are hindered by their limited payload and duration. Consequently, UAVs spend little time in their area of operation, returning frequently to base for refueling. The effective payload and duration of small UAVs is increased by moving the support base closer to the operating area; however this increases risk to personnel. Performing the refueling operations autonomously allows the support base to be located closer to the operating area without increasing risk to personnel. Engineers at SPAWAR Systems Center San Diego (SSC San Diego) are working to develop technologies for automated launch, recovery, refueling, rearming, and re-launching of small UAVs. These technologies are intended to provide forward-refueling capabilities by teaming small UAVs with large unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). The UGVs have larger payload capacities so they can easily carry fuel for the UAVs in addition to their own fuel and mission payloads. This paper describes a prototype system that launched and recovered a remotely-piloted UAV from a UGV and performed automated refueling of a UAV mockup.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 December 2004
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5609, Mobile Robots XVII, (29 December 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.580140
Show Author Affiliations
Katherine Mullens, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Ctr. (United States)
Aaron Burmeister, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Ctr. (United States)
Mike Wills, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Ctr. (United States)
Nicholas Stroumtsos, Science Applications International Corp. (United States)
Thomas Denewiler, Science Applications International Corp. (United States)
Kari Thomas, Science Applications International Corp. (United States)
Stephen Stancliff, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5609:
Mobile Robots XVII
Douglas W. Gage, Editor(s)

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