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Drones, Volume 8, Issue 3 (March 2024) – 47 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In response to the rising demand for autonomous quadrotor flights, this study addresses the lack of comprehensive analyses in existing reviews. By examining experimental results from leading publications, it identifies trends and research gaps in quadrotor tracking control. Through historical insights and data-driven analyses, it objectively identifies top-performing controllers across diverse applications. Aimed at aiding early-career researchers, this review aims to facilitate meaningful contributions to quadrotor control technology, while highlighting three crucial gaps hindering effective comparison and progress. View this paper
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22 pages, 1971 KiB  
Article
Estimating Total Length of Partially Submerged Crocodylians from Drone Imagery
by Clément Aubert, Gilles Le Moguédec, Alvaro Velasco, Xander Combrink, Jeffrey W. Lang, Phoebe Griffith, Gualberto Pacheco-Sierra, Etiam Pérez, Pierre Charruau, Francisco Villamarín, Igor J. Roberto, Boris Marioni, Joseph E. Colbert, Asghar Mobaraki, Allan R. Woodward, Ruchira Somaweera, Marisa Tellez, Matthew Brien and Matthew H. Shirley
Drones 2024, 8(3), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030115 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 2170
Abstract
Understanding the demographic structure is vital for wildlife research and conservation. For crocodylians, accurately estimating total length and demographic class usually necessitates close observation or capture, often of partially immersed individuals, leading to potential imprecision and risk. Drone technology offers a bias-free, safer [...] Read more.
Understanding the demographic structure is vital for wildlife research and conservation. For crocodylians, accurately estimating total length and demographic class usually necessitates close observation or capture, often of partially immersed individuals, leading to potential imprecision and risk. Drone technology offers a bias-free, safer alternative for classification. We evaluated the effectiveness of drone photos combined with head length allometric relationships to estimate total length, and propose a standardized method for drone-based crocodylian demographic classification. We evaluated error sources related to drone flight parameters using standardized targets. An allometric framework correlating head to total length for 17 crocodylian species was developed, incorporating confidence intervals to account for imprecision sources (e.g., allometric accuracy, head inclination, observer bias, terrain variability). This method was applied to wild crocodylians through drone photography. Target measurements from drone imagery, across various resolutions and sizes, were consistent with their actual dimensions. Terrain effects were less impactful than Ground-Sample Distance (GSD) errors from photogrammetric software. The allometric framework predicted lengths within ≃11–18% accuracy across species, with natural allometric variation among individuals explaining much of this range. Compared to traditional methods that can be subjective and risky, our drone-based approach is objective, efficient, fast, cheap, non-invasive, and safe. Nonetheless, further refinements are needed to extend survey times and better include smaller size classes. Full article
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34 pages, 2373 KiB  
Article
Modeling of the Flight Performance of a Plasma-Propelled Drone: Limitations and Prospects
by Sylvain Grosse, Eric Moreau and Nicolas Binder
Drones 2024, 8(3), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030114 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 748
Abstract
The resurgence in interest in aircraft electro-aerodynamic (EAD) propulsion has been sparked due to recent advancements in EAD thrusters, which generate thrust by employing a plasma generated through electrical discharge. With potentially quieter propulsion that could contribute to the generation of lift or [...] Read more.
The resurgence in interest in aircraft electro-aerodynamic (EAD) propulsion has been sparked due to recent advancements in EAD thrusters, which generate thrust by employing a plasma generated through electrical discharge. With potentially quieter propulsion that could contribute to the generation of lift or the control of attitude, it is important to determine the feasibility of an EAD-propelled airplane. First, the main propulsive characteristics (thrust generation and power consumption) of EAD thrusters were drawn from the literature and compared with existing technologies. Second, an algorithm was developed to couple standard equations of flight with EAD propulsion performance and treat the first-order interactions. It fairly replicated the performance of the only available autonomous EAD-propelled drone. A test case based on an existing commercial UAV of 10 kg equipped with current-generation EAD thrusters anticipated a flight of less than 10 min, lower than 30 m in height, and below 8 m · s −1 in velocity. Achieving over 2 h of flight at 30 m of height at 10 m · s −1 requires the current EAD thrust to be doubled without altering the power consumption. For the same flight performance as the baseline UAV, the prediction asked for a tenfold increase in the thrust at the same power consumption. Full article
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22 pages, 35809 KiB  
Article
UAV-Based Wetland Monitoring: Multispectral and Lidar Fusion with Random Forest Classification
by Robert Van Alphen, Kai C. Rains, Mel Rodgers, Rocco Malservisi and Timothy H. Dixon
Drones 2024, 8(3), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030113 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 791
Abstract
As sea levels rise and temperatures increase, vegetation communities in tropical and sub-tropical coastal areas will be stressed; some will migrate northward and inland. The transition from coastal marshes and scrub–shrubs to woody mangroves is a fundamental change to coastal community structure and [...] Read more.
As sea levels rise and temperatures increase, vegetation communities in tropical and sub-tropical coastal areas will be stressed; some will migrate northward and inland. The transition from coastal marshes and scrub–shrubs to woody mangroves is a fundamental change to coastal community structure and species composition. However, this transition will likely be episodic, complicating monitoring efforts, as mangrove advances are countered by dieback from increasingly impactful storms. Coastal habitat monitoring has traditionally been conducted through satellite and ground-based surveys. Here we investigate the use of UAV-LiDAR (unoccupied aerial vehicle–light detection and ranging) and multispectral photogrammetry to study a Florida coastal wetland. These data have higher resolution than satellite-derived data and are cheaper and faster to collect compared to crewed aircraft or ground surveys. We detected significant canopy change in the period between our survey (2020–2022) and a previous survey (2015), including loss at the scale of individual buttonwood trees (Conocarpus erectus), a woody mangrove associate. The UAV-derived data were collected to investigate the utility of simplified processing and data inputs for habitat classification and were validated with standard metrics and additional ground truth. UAV surveys combined with machine learning can streamline coastal habitat monitoring, facilitating repeat surveys to assess the effects of climate change and other change agents. Full article
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21 pages, 7411 KiB  
Article
MFMG-Net: Multispectral Feature Mutual Guidance Network for Visible–Infrared Object Detection
by Fei Zhao, Wenzhong Lou, Hengzhen Feng, Nanxi Ding and Chenglong Li
Drones 2024, 8(3), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030112 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 660
Abstract
Drones equipped with visible and infrared sensors play a vital role in urban road supervision. However, conventional methods using RGB-IR image pairs often struggle to extract effective features. These methods treat these spectra independently, missing the potential benefits of their interaction and complementary [...] Read more.
Drones equipped with visible and infrared sensors play a vital role in urban road supervision. However, conventional methods using RGB-IR image pairs often struggle to extract effective features. These methods treat these spectra independently, missing the potential benefits of their interaction and complementary information. To address these challenges, we designed the Multispectral Feature Mutual Guidance Network (MFMG-Net). To prevent learning bias between spectra, we have developed a Data Augmentation (DA) technique based on the mask strategy. The MFMG module is embedded between two backbone networks, promoting the exchange of feature information between spectra to enhance extraction. We also designed a Dual-Branch Feature Fusion (DBFF) module based on attention mechanisms, enabling deep feature fusion by emphasizing correlations between the two spectra in both the feature channel and space dimensions. Finally, the fused features feed into the neck network and detection head, yielding ultimate inference results. Our experiments, conducted on the Aerial Imagery (VEDAI) dataset and two other public datasets (M3FD and LLVIP), showcase the superior performance of our method and the effectiveness of MFMG in enhancing multispectral feature extraction for drone ground detection. Full article
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23 pages, 2415 KiB  
Article
Hybrid Encryption for Securing and Tracking Goods Delivery by Multipurpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Rural Areas Using Cipher Block Chaining and Physical Layer Security
by Elias Yaacoub, Khalid Abualsaud and Mohamed Mahmoud
Drones 2024, 8(3), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030111 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 769
Abstract
This paper investigated the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the delivery of critical goods to remote areas in the absence of network connectivity. Under such conditions, it is important to track the delivery process and record the transactions in a delay-tolerant [...] Read more.
This paper investigated the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the delivery of critical goods to remote areas in the absence of network connectivity. Under such conditions, it is important to track the delivery process and record the transactions in a delay-tolerant fashion so that this information can be recovered after the UAV’s return to base. We propose a novel framework that combines the strengths of cipher block chaining, physical layer security, and symmetric and asymmetric encryption techniques in order to safely encrypt the transaction logs of remote delivery operations. The proposed approach is shown to provide high security levels, making the keys undetectable, in addition to being robust to attacks. Thus, it is very useful in drone systems used for logistics and autonomous goods delivery to multiple destinations. This is particularly important in health applications, e.g., for vaccine transmissions, or in relief and rescue operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Drones in Logistics)
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20 pages, 11298 KiB  
Article
Air–Ground Collaborative Multi-Target Detection Task Assignment and Path Planning Optimization
by Tianxiao Ma, Ping Lu, Fangwei Deng and Keke Geng
Drones 2024, 8(3), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030110 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 725
Abstract
Collaborative exploration in environments involving multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) represents a crucial research direction in multi-agent systems. However, there is still a lack of research in the areas of multi-target detection task assignment and swarm path planning, [...] Read more.
Collaborative exploration in environments involving multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) represents a crucial research direction in multi-agent systems. However, there is still a lack of research in the areas of multi-target detection task assignment and swarm path planning, both of which play a vital role in enhancing the efficiency of environment exploration and reducing energy consumption. In this paper, we propose an air–ground collaborative multi-target detection task model based on Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP). In order to make the model more suitable for real situations, kinematic constraints of the UAVs and UGVs, dynamic collision avoidance constraints, task allocation constraints, and obstacle avoidance constraints are added to the model. We also establish an objective function that comprehensively considers time consumption, energy consumption, and trajectory smoothness to improve the authenticity of the model and achieve a more realistic purpose. Meanwhile, a Branch-and-Bound method combined with the Improved Genetic Algorithm (IGA-B&B) is proposed to solve the objective function, and the optimal task assignment and optimal path of air–ground collaborative multi-target detection can be obtained. A simulation environment with multi-agents, multi-obstacles, and multi-task points is established. The simulation results show that the proposed IGA-B&B algorithm can reduce the computation time cost by 30% compared to the traditional Branch-and-Bound (B&B) method. In addition, an experiment is carried out in an outdoor environment, which further validates the effectiveness and feasibility of the proposed method. Full article
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20 pages, 7383 KiB  
Article
Global Navigation Satellite Systems Signal Vulnerabilities in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations: Impact of Affordable Software-Defined Radio
by Andrej Novák, Kristína Kováčiková, Branislav Kandera and Alena Novák Sedláčková
Drones 2024, 8(3), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030109 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 690
Abstract
Spoofing, alongside jamming of the Global Navigation Satellite System signal, remains a significant hazard during general aviation or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operations. As aircraft utilize various support systems for navigation, such as INS, an insufficient Global Navigation Satellite System signal renders Unmanned Aerial [...] Read more.
Spoofing, alongside jamming of the Global Navigation Satellite System signal, remains a significant hazard during general aviation or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operations. As aircraft utilize various support systems for navigation, such as INS, an insufficient Global Navigation Satellite System signal renders Unmanned Aerial Vehicles nearly uncontrollable, thereby posing increased danger to operations within airspace and to individuals on the ground. This paper primarily focuses on assessing the impact of the budget friendly Software-Defined Radio, HackRF One 1.0, on the safety of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles operations. Considering the widespread use of Software-Defined Radio devices today, with some being reasonably inexpensive, understanding their influence on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles safety is crucial. The generation of artificial interference capable of posing a potential threat in expanding Unmanned Aerial Vehicles airspace is deemed unacceptable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drone Communications)
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22 pages, 6075 KiB  
Article
Impact of Drone Battery Recharging Policy on Overall Carbon Emissions: The Traveling Salesman Problem with Drone
by Emine Es Yurek
Drones 2024, 8(3), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030108 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 801
Abstract
This study investigates the traveling salesman problem with drone (TSP-D) from a sustainability perspective. In this problem, a truck and a drone simultaneously serve customers. Due to the limited battery and load capacity, the drone temporarily launches from and returns to the truck [...] Read more.
This study investigates the traveling salesman problem with drone (TSP-D) from a sustainability perspective. In this problem, a truck and a drone simultaneously serve customers. Due to the limited battery and load capacity, the drone temporarily launches from and returns to the truck after each customer visit. Previous studies indicate the potential of deploying drones to reduce delivery time and carbon emissions. However, they assume that the drone battery is swapped after each flight. In this study, we analyze the carbon emissions of the TSP-D under the recharging policy and provide a comparative analysis with the swapping policy. In the recharging policy, the drone is recharged simultaneously on top of the truck while the truck travels. A simulated annealing algorithm is proposed to solve this problem. The computational results demonstrate that the recharging policy can provide faster delivery and lower emissions than the swapping policy if the recharging is fast enough. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of Drones in Logistics)
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25 pages, 3769 KiB  
Article
Harmonized Skies: A Survey on Drone Acceptance across Europe
by Maria Stolz, Anne Papenfuß, Franziska Dunkel and Eva Linhuber
Drones 2024, 8(3), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030107 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 949
Abstract
This study investigated the public acceptance of drones in six European countries. For this purpose, an online questionnaire was created, which was completed by 2998 participants. The general attitude towards drones, concerns, approval for different use cases, minimum tolerable flight altitude, acceptable flight [...] Read more.
This study investigated the public acceptance of drones in six European countries. For this purpose, an online questionnaire was created, which was completed by 2998 participants. The general attitude towards drones, concerns, approval for different use cases, minimum tolerable flight altitude, acceptable flight areas, and the impact of personal and demographic attributes on drone acceptance were analyzed. Overall, attitudes towards drones were quite positive in the entire sample and even improved slightly in a second measurement at the end of the questionnaire. However, the results also show that acceptance strongly depends on the use case. Drones for civil and public applications are more widely accepted than those for private and commercial applications. Moreover, the population still has high concerns about privacy and safety. Knowledge about drones, interest in technologies, and age proved essential to predicting acceptance. Thus, tailored communication strategies, for example, through social media, can enhance public awareness and acceptance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers of Drones Volume II)
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14 pages, 9816 KiB  
Article
UAV Photogrammetric Surveys for Tree Height Estimation
by Giuseppina Vacca and Enrica Vecchi
Drones 2024, 8(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030106 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 719
Abstract
In the context of precision agriculture (PA), geomatic surveys exploiting UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) platforms allow the dimensional characterization of trees. This paper focuses on the use of low-cost UAV photogrammetry to estimate tree height, as part of a project for the phytoremediation [...] Read more.
In the context of precision agriculture (PA), geomatic surveys exploiting UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) platforms allow the dimensional characterization of trees. This paper focuses on the use of low-cost UAV photogrammetry to estimate tree height, as part of a project for the phytoremediation of contaminated soils. Two study areas with different characteristics in terms of mean tree height (5 m; 0.7 m) are chosen to test the procedure even in a challenging context. Three campaigns are performed in an olive grove (Area 1) at different flying altitudes (30 m, 40 m, and 50 m), and one UAV flight is available for Area 2 (42 m of altitude), where three species are present: oleander, lentisk, and poplar. The workflow involves the elaboration of the UAV point clouds through the SfM (structure from motion) approach, digital surface models (DSMs), vegetation filtering, and a GIS-based analysis to obtain canopy height models (CHMs) for height extraction based on a local maxima approach. UAV-derived heights are compared with in-field measurements, and promising results are obtained for Area 1, confirming the applicability of the procedure for tree height extraction, while the application in Area 2 (shorter tree seedlings) is more problematic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drones in Agriculture and Forestry)
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17 pages, 1208 KiB  
Article
The Sound of Surveillance: Enhancing Machine Learning-Driven Drone Detection with Advanced Acoustic Augmentation
by Sebastian Kümmritz
Drones 2024, 8(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030105 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 725
Abstract
In response to the growing challenges in drone security and airspace management, this study introduces an advanced drone classifier, capable of detecting and categorizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) based on acoustic signatures. Utilizing a comprehensive database of drone sounds across EU-defined classes (C0 [...] Read more.
In response to the growing challenges in drone security and airspace management, this study introduces an advanced drone classifier, capable of detecting and categorizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) based on acoustic signatures. Utilizing a comprehensive database of drone sounds across EU-defined classes (C0 to C3), this research leverages machine learning (ML) techniques for effective UAV identification. The study primarily focuses on the impact of data augmentation methods—pitch shifting, time delays, harmonic distortion, and ambient noise integration—on classifier performance. These techniques aim to mimic real-world acoustic variations, thus enhancing the classifier’s robustness and practical applicability. Results indicate that moderate levels of augmentation significantly improve classification accuracy. However, excessive application of these methods can negatively affect performance. The study concludes that sophisticated acoustic data augmentation can substantially enhance ML-driven drone detection, providing a versatile and efficient tool for managing drone-related security risks. This research contributes to UAV detection technology, presenting a model that not only identifies but also categorizes drones, underscoring its potential for diverse operational environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Detection, Security, and Communication for UAV)
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19 pages, 4884 KiB  
Article
Improved YOLOv7 Target Detection Algorithm Based on UAV Aerial Photography
by Zhen Bai, Xinbiao Pei, Zheng Qiao, Guangxin Wu and Yue Bai
Drones 2024, 8(3), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030104 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 864
Abstract
With the rapid development of remote sensing technology, remote sensing target detection faces many problems; for example, there is still no good solution for small targets with complex backgrounds and simple features. In response to the above, we have added dynamic snake convolution [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of remote sensing technology, remote sensing target detection faces many problems; for example, there is still no good solution for small targets with complex backgrounds and simple features. In response to the above, we have added dynamic snake convolution (DSC) to YOLOv7. In addition, SPPFCSPC is used instead of the original spatial pyramid pooling structure; the original loss function was replaced with the EIoU loss function. This study was evaluated on UAV image data (VisDrone2019), which were compared with mainstream algorithms, and the experiments showed that this algorithm has a good average accuracy. Compared to the original algorithm, the mAP0.5 of the present algorithm is improved by 4.3%. Experiments proved that this algorithm outperforms other algorithms. Full article
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25 pages, 9288 KiB  
Article
Modeling, Guidance, and Robust Cooperative Control of Two Quadrotors Carrying a “Y”-Shaped-Cable-Suspended Payload
by Erquan Wang, Jinyang Sun, Yuanyuan Liang, Boyu Zhou, Fangfei Jiang and Yang Zhu
Drones 2024, 8(3), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030103 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 810
Abstract
This paper investigates the problem of cooperative payload delivery by two quadrotors with a novel “Y”-shaped cable that improves payload carrying and dropping efficiency. Compared with the existing “V”-shaped suspension, the proposed suspension method adds another payload swing degree of freedom to the [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the problem of cooperative payload delivery by two quadrotors with a novel “Y”-shaped cable that improves payload carrying and dropping efficiency. Compared with the existing “V”-shaped suspension, the proposed suspension method adds another payload swing degree of freedom to the quadrotor–payload system, making the modeling and control of such a system more challenging. In the modeling, the payload swing motion is decomposed into a forward–backward process and a lateral process, and the swing motion is then transmitted to the dynamics of the two quadrotors by converting it into disturbance cable pulling forces. A novel guidance and control framework is proposed, where a guidance law is designed to not only achieve formation transformation but also generate a local reference for the quadrotor, which does not have access to the global reference, based on which a cooperative controller is developed by incorporating an uncertainty and disturbance estimator to actively compensate for payload swing disturbance to achieve the desired formation trajectory tracking performance. A singular perturbation theory-based analysis shows that the proposed parameter mapping method, which unifies the parameter tuning of different control channels, allows us to tune a single parameter, ε, to quantitatively enhance both the formation control performance and system robustness. Simulation results verify the effectiveness of the proposed approach in different scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV Trajectory Generation, Optimization and Cooperative Control)
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22 pages, 10049 KiB  
Article
Design, Modeling, and Control of a Composite Tilt-Rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
by Zhuang Liang, Li Fan, Guangwei Wen and Zhixiong Xu
Drones 2024, 8(3), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030102 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1008
Abstract
Tilt-rotor unmanned aerial vehicles combine the advantages of multirotor and fixed-wing aircraft, offering features like rapid takeoff and landing, extended endurance, and wide flight conditions. This article provides a summary of the design, modeling, and control of a composite tilt-rotor. During modeling process, [...] Read more.
Tilt-rotor unmanned aerial vehicles combine the advantages of multirotor and fixed-wing aircraft, offering features like rapid takeoff and landing, extended endurance, and wide flight conditions. This article provides a summary of the design, modeling, and control of a composite tilt-rotor. During modeling process, aerodynamic modeling was performed on the tilting and non-tilting parts based on the subcomponent modeling method, and CFD simulation analysis was conducted on the entire unmanned aerial vehicle to obtain its accurate aerodynamic characteristics. In the process of modeling the motor propeller, the reduction of motor thrust and torque due to forward flow and tilt angle velocity is thoroughly examined, which is usually ignored in most tilt UAV propeller models. In the controller design, this paper proposes a fusion ADRC control strategy suitable for vertical takeoff and landing of this type of tiltrotor. The control system framework is built using Simulink, and the control algorithm’s efficiency has been verified through simulation testing. Through the proposed control scheme, it is possible for the composite tiltrotor unmanned aerial vehicle to smoothly transition between multirotor and fixed-wing flight modes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A UAV Platform for Flight Dynamics and Control System)
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25 pages, 15207 KiB  
Article
Design of Pseudo-Command Restricted Controller for Tailless Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Based on Attainable Moment Set
by Linxiao Han, Jianbo Hu, Yingyang Wang, Jiping Cong and Peng Zhang
Drones 2024, 8(3), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030101 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 704
Abstract
This work investigates the pseudo-command restricted problem for tailless unmanned aerial vehicles with snake-shaped maneuver flight missions. The main challenge of designing such a pseudo-command restricted controller lies in the fact that the necessity of control allocation means it will be difficult to [...] Read more.
This work investigates the pseudo-command restricted problem for tailless unmanned aerial vehicles with snake-shaped maneuver flight missions. The main challenge of designing such a pseudo-command restricted controller lies in the fact that the necessity of control allocation means it will be difficult to provide a precise envelope of pseudo-command to the flight controller; designing a compensation system to deal with insufficient capabilities beyond this envelope is another challenge. The envelope of pseudo-command can be expressed by attainable moment sets, which leave some open problems, such as how to obtain the attainable moment sets online and how to reduce the computational complexity of the algorithm, as well as how to ensure independent control allocation and the convexity of attainable moments sets. In this article, an innovative algorithm is proposed for the calculation of attainable moment sets, which can be implemented by fitting wind tunnel data into a function to solve the problems presented above. Furthermore, the algorithm is independent of control allocation and can be obtained online. Moreover, based on the above attainable moment sets algorithm, a flight performance assurance system is designed, which not only guarantees that the command is constrained within the envelope so that its behavior is more predictable, but also supports adaptive compensation for the pseudo-command restricted controller. Finally, the effectiveness of the AMS algorithm and the advantages of the pseudo-command restricted control system are validated through two sets of independent simulations. Full article
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18 pages, 9809 KiB  
Article
Design and Demonstration of a Tandem Dual-Rotor Aerial–Aquatic Vehicle
by Sihuan Wu, Maosen Shao, Sifan Wu, Zhilin He, Hui Wang, Jinxiu Zhang and Yue You
Drones 2024, 8(3), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030100 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 883
Abstract
Aerial–aquatic vehicles (AAVs) hold great promise for marine applications, offering adaptability to diverse environments by seamlessly transitioning between underwater and aerial operations. Nevertheless, the design of AAVs poses inherent challenges, owing to the distinct characteristics of different fluid media. This article introduces a [...] Read more.
Aerial–aquatic vehicles (AAVs) hold great promise for marine applications, offering adaptability to diverse environments by seamlessly transitioning between underwater and aerial operations. Nevertheless, the design of AAVs poses inherent challenges, owing to the distinct characteristics of different fluid media. This article introduces a novel solution in the form of a tandem dual-rotor aerial–aquatic vehicle, strategically engineered to overcome these challenges. The proposed vehicle boasts a slender and streamlined body, enhancing its underwater mobility while utilizing a tandem rotor for aerial maneuvers. Outdoor scene tests were conducted to assess the tandem dual-rotor AAV’s diverse capabilities, including flying, hovering, and executing repeated cross-media locomotion. Notably, its versatility was further demonstrated through swift surface swimming on water. In addition to aerial evaluations, an underwater experiment was undertaken to evaluate the AAV’s ability to traverse narrow underwater passages. This capability was successfully validated through the creation of a narrow underwater gap. The comprehensive exploration of the tandem dual-rotor AAV’s potential is presented in this article, encompassing its foundational principles, overall design, simulation analysis, and avionics system design. The preliminary research and design outlined herein offer a proof of concept for the tandem dual-rotor AAV, establishing a robust foundation for AAVs seeking optimal performance in both water and air environments. This contribution serves as a valuable reference solution for the advancement of AAV technology. Full article
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15 pages, 2235 KiB  
Article
Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Road Assessment: A Novel Approach to the Pavement Condition Index and VIZIR Methodologies
by Diana Marcela Ortega Rengifo, Jose Capa Salinas, Javier Alexander Perez Caicedo and Manuel Alejandro Rojas Manzano
Drones 2024, 8(3), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030099 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 847
Abstract
This paper presents an innovative approach to road assessment, focusing on enhancing the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) and Visión Inspection de Zones et Itinéraires Á Risque (VIZIR) methodologies by integrating Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology. The research was conducted in an urban setting, [...] Read more.
This paper presents an innovative approach to road assessment, focusing on enhancing the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) and Visión Inspection de Zones et Itinéraires Á Risque (VIZIR) methodologies by integrating Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology. The research was conducted in an urban setting, utilizing a UAS to capture high-resolution imagery, which was subsequently processed to generate detailed orthomosaics of road surfaces. This study critically analyzed the discrepancies between traditional field measurements and UAS-derived data in pavement condition assessment. The study findings demonstrate that photogrammetry-derived data from UAS offer at least similar or, in some cases, improved information on the collection of a comprehensive state of roadways, particularly in local and collector roads. Furthermore, this study proposed key modifications to the existing methodologies, including dividing the road network into segments for more precise and relevant data collection. These enhancements aim to address the limitations of current practices in capturing the diverse and dynamic conditions of urban infrastructure. Integrating UAS technology improves the measurement of pavement condition assessments and offers a more efficient, cost-effective, and scalable approach to urban infrastructure management. The implications of this study are significant for urban planners and policymakers, providing a robust framework for future infrastructure assessment and maintenance strategies. Full article
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21 pages, 7888 KiB  
Article
Toward Virtual Testing of Unmanned Aerial Spraying Systems Operating in Vineyards
by Manuel Carreño Ruiz, Nicoletta Bloise, Giorgio Guglieri and Domenic D’Ambrosio
Drones 2024, 8(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030098 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 898
Abstract
In recent times, the objective of reducing the environmental impact of the agricultural industry has led to the mechanization of the sector. One of the consequences of this is the everyday increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for different tasks in agriculture, [...] Read more.
In recent times, the objective of reducing the environmental impact of the agricultural industry has led to the mechanization of the sector. One of the consequences of this is the everyday increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for different tasks in agriculture, such as spraying operations, mapping, or diagnostics, among others. Aerial spraying presents an inherent problem associated with the drift of small droplets caused by their entrainment in vortical structures such as tip vortices produced at the tip of rotors and wings. This problem is aggravated by other dynamic physical phenomena associated with the actual spray operation, such as liquid sloshing in the tank, GPS inaccuracies, wind gusts, and autopilot corrections, among others. This work focuses on analyzing the impact of nozzle position and liquid sloshing on droplet deposition through numerical modeling. To achieve this, the paper presents a novel six degrees of freedom numerical model of a DJI Matrice 600 equipped with a spray system. The spray is modeled using Lagrangian particles and the liquid sloshing is modeled with an interface-capturing method known as Volume of Fluid (VOF) approach. The model is tested in a spraying operation at a constant velocity of 2 m/s in a virtual vineyard. The maneuver is achieved using a PID controller that drives the angular rates of the rotors. This spraying mission simulator was used to obtain insights into optimal nozzle selection and positioning by quantifying the amount of droplet deposition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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24 pages, 8099 KiB  
Article
Species-Level Classification of Peatland Vegetation Using Ultra-High-Resolution UAV Imagery
by Gillian Simpson, Caroline J. Nichol, Tom Wade, Carole Helfter, Alistair Hamilton and Simon Gibson-Poole
Drones 2024, 8(3), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030097 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1038
Abstract
Peatland restoration projects are being employed worldwide as a form of climate change mitigation due to their potential for long-term carbon sequestration. Monitoring these environments (e.g., cover of keystone species) is therefore essential to evaluate success. However, existing studies have rarely examined peatland [...] Read more.
Peatland restoration projects are being employed worldwide as a form of climate change mitigation due to their potential for long-term carbon sequestration. Monitoring these environments (e.g., cover of keystone species) is therefore essential to evaluate success. However, existing studies have rarely examined peatland vegetation at fine scales due to its strong spatial heterogeneity and seasonal canopy development. The present study collected centimetre-scale multispectral Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) imagery with a Parrot Sequoia camera (2.8 cm resolution; Parrot Drones SAS, Paris, France) in a temperate peatland over a complete growing season. Supervised classification algorithms were used to map the vegetation at the single-species level, and the Maximum Likelihood classifier was found to perform best at the site level (69% overall accuracy). The classification accuracy increased with the spatial resolution of the input data, and a large reduction in accuracy was observed when employing imagery of >11 cm resolution. Finally, the most accurate classifications were produced using imagery collected during the peak (July–August) or early growing season (start of May). These findings suggest that despite the strong heterogeneity of peatlands, these environments can be mapped at the species level using UAVs. Such an approach would benefit studies estimating peatland carbon emissions or using the cover of keystone species to evaluate restoration projects. Full article
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21 pages, 841 KiB  
Article
Generalized Labeled Multi-Bernoulli Filter-Based Passive Localization and Tracking of Radiation Sources Carried by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
by Jun Zhao, Renzhou Gui and Xudong Dong
Drones 2024, 8(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030096 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 798
Abstract
This paper discusses a key technique for passive localization and tracking of radiation sources, which obtains the motion trajectory of radiation sources carried by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by continuously or periodically localizing it without the active participation of the radiation sources. However, [...] Read more.
This paper discusses a key technique for passive localization and tracking of radiation sources, which obtains the motion trajectory of radiation sources carried by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by continuously or periodically localizing it without the active participation of the radiation sources. However, the existing methods have some limitations in complex signal environments and non-stationary wireless propagation that impact the accuracy of localization and tracking. To address these challenges, this paper extends the δ-generalized labeled multi-Bernoulli (GLMB) filter to the scenario of passive localization and tracking based on the random finite-set (RFS) framework and provides the extended Kalman filter (EKF) and unscented Kalman filter (UKF) implementations of the δ-GLMB filter, which fully take into account the nonlinear motion of the radiation source. By modeling the “obstacle scenario” and the influence of external factors (e.g., weather, terrain), our proposed GLMB filter can accurately track the target and capture its motion trajectory. Simulation results verify the effectiveness of the GLMB filter in target identification and state tracking. Full article
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17 pages, 3793 KiB  
Article
Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG) Agent-Based Sliding Mode Control for Quadrotor Attitudes
by Wenjun Hu, Yueneng Yang and Zhiyang Liu
Drones 2024, 8(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030095 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 744
Abstract
A novel reinforcement deep learning deterministic policy gradient agent-based sliding mode control (DDPG-SMC) approach is proposed to suppress the chattering phenomenon in attitude control for quadrotors, in the presence of external disturbances. First, the attitude dynamics model of the quadrotor under study is [...] Read more.
A novel reinforcement deep learning deterministic policy gradient agent-based sliding mode control (DDPG-SMC) approach is proposed to suppress the chattering phenomenon in attitude control for quadrotors, in the presence of external disturbances. First, the attitude dynamics model of the quadrotor under study is derived, and the attitude control problem is described using formulas. Second, a sliding mode controller, including its sliding mode surface and reaching law, is chosen for the nonlinear dynamic system. The stability of the designed SMC system is validated through the Lyapunov stability theorem. Third, a reinforcement learning (RL) agent based on deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) is trained to adaptively adjust the switching control gain. During the training process, the input signals for the agent are the actual and desired attitude angles, while the output action is the time-varying control gain. Finally, the trained agent mentioned above is utilized in the SMC as a parameter regulator to facilitate the adaptive adjustment of the switching control gain associated with the reaching law. The simulation results validate the robustness and effectiveness of the proposed DDPG-SMC method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Quadrotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)
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26 pages, 2043 KiB  
Article
Towards mmWave Altimetry for UAS: Exploring the Potential of 77 GHz Automotive Radars
by Maaz Ali Awan, Yaser Dalveren, Ali Kara and Mohammad Derawi
Drones 2024, 8(3), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030094 - 11 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1084
Abstract
Precise altitude data are indispensable for flight navigation, particularly during the autonomous landing of unmanned aerial systems (UASs). Conventional light and barometric sensors employed for altitude estimation are limited by poor visibility and temperature conditions, respectively, whilst global positioning system (GPS) receivers provide [...] Read more.
Precise altitude data are indispensable for flight navigation, particularly during the autonomous landing of unmanned aerial systems (UASs). Conventional light and barometric sensors employed for altitude estimation are limited by poor visibility and temperature conditions, respectively, whilst global positioning system (GPS) receivers provide the altitude from the mean sea level (MSL) marred with a slow update rate. To cater to the landing safety requirements, UASs necessitate precise altitude information above ground level (AGL) impervious to environmental conditions. Radar altimeters, a mainstay in commercial aviation for at least half a century, realize these requirements through minimum operational performance standards (MOPSs). More recently, the proliferation of 5G technology and interference with the universally allocated band for radar altimeters from 4.2 to 4.4 GHz underscores the necessity to explore novel avenues. Notably, there is no dedicated MOPS tailored for radar altimeters of UASs. To gauge the performance of a radar altimeter offering for UASs, existing MOPSs are the de facto choice. Historically, frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radars have been extensively used in a broad spectrum of ranging applications including radar altimeters. Modern monolithic millimeter wave (mmWave) automotive radars, albeit designed for automotive applications, also employ FMCW for precise ranging with a cost-effective and compact footprint. Given the technology maturation with excellent size, weight, and power (SWaP) metrics, there is a growing trend in industry and academia to explore their efficacy beyond the realm of the automotive industry. To this end, their feasibility for UAS altimetry remains largely untapped. While the literature on theoretical discourse is prevalent, a specific focus on mmWave radar altimetry is lacking. Moreover, clutter estimation with hardware specifications of a pure look-down mmWave radar is unreported. This article argues the applicability of MOPSs for commercial aviation for adaptation to a UAS use case. The theme of the work is a tutorial based on a simplified mathematical and theoretical discussion on the understanding of performance metrics and inherent intricacies. A systems engineering approach for deriving waveform specifications from operational requirements of a UAS is offered. Lastly, proposed future research directions and insights are included. Full article
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24 pages, 6562 KiB  
Article
Hybrid Mode: Routinization of the Transition Mode as the Third Common Mode for Compound VTOL Drones
by Jiahao Hu, Jingbo Wei, Kun Liu, Xiaobin Yu, Mingzhi Cao and Zijie Qin
Drones 2024, 8(3), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030093 - 08 Mar 2024
Viewed by 919
Abstract
Fixed-wing Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) drones have been widely researched and applied because they combine the advantages of both rotorcraft and fixed-wing drones. However, the research on the transition mode of this type of drone has mainly focused on completing the process [...] Read more.
Fixed-wing Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) drones have been widely researched and applied because they combine the advantages of both rotorcraft and fixed-wing drones. However, the research on the transition mode of this type of drone has mainly focused on completing the process quickly and stably, and the application potential of this mode has not been given much attention. The objective of this paper is to routinize the transition mode of compound VTOL drones, i.e., this mode works continuously for a longer period of time as a third commonly used mode besides multi-rotor and fixed-wing modes, which is referred to as the hybrid mode. For this purpose, we perform detailed dynamics modeling of the drone in this mode and use saturated PID controllers to control the altitude, velocity, and attitude of the drone. In addition, for more stable altitude control in hybrid mode, we identify the relevant parameters for the lift of the fixed-wings and the thrust of the actuators. Simulation and experimental results show that the designed control method can effectively control the compound VTOL drone in hybrid mode. Moreover, it is proven that flight in hybrid mode can reduce the flight energy consumption to some extent. Full article
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25 pages, 8258 KiB  
Article
Quantity Monitor Based on Differential Weighing Sensors for Storage Tank of Agricultural UAV
by Junhao Huang, Weizhuo He, Deshuai Yang, Jianqin Lin, Yuanzhen Ou, Rui Jiang and Zhiyan Zhou
Drones 2024, 8(3), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030092 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Nowadays, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) play a pivotal role in agricultural production. In scenarios involving the release of particulate materials, the precision of quantity monitors for the storage tank of UAVs directly impacts its operational accuracy. Therefore, this paper introduces a novel noise-mitigation [...] Read more.
Nowadays, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) play a pivotal role in agricultural production. In scenarios involving the release of particulate materials, the precision of quantity monitors for the storage tank of UAVs directly impacts its operational accuracy. Therefore, this paper introduces a novel noise-mitigation design for agricultural UAVs’ quantity monitors, utilizing differential weighing sensors. The design effectively addresses three primary noise sources: sensor-intrinsic noise, vibration noise, and weight-loading uncertainty. Additionally, two comprehensive data processing methods are proposed for noise reduction: the first combines the Butterworth low-pass filter, the Kalman filter, and the moving average filter (BKM), while the second integrates the Least Mean Squares (LMS) adaptive filter, the Kalman filter, and the moving average filter (LKM). Rigorous data processing has been conducted, and the monitor’s performance has been assessed in three UAV typical states: static, hovering, and flighting. Specifically, compared to the BKM, the LKM’s maximum relative error ranges between 1.24% and 2.74%, with an average relative error of 0.31%~0.58% when the UAV was in a hovering state. In flight mode, the LKM’s maximum relative error varies from 1.68% to 10.06%, while the average relative error ranges between 0.74% and 2.54%. Furthermore, LKM can effectively suppress noise interference near 75 Hz and 150 Hz. The results reveal that the LKM technology demonstrated superior adaptability to noise and effectively mitigates its impact in the quantity monitoring for storage tank of agricultural UAVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones in Sustainable Agriculture)
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15 pages, 17419 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Health Status of Old Trees of Platycladus orientalis L. Using UAV Multispectral Imagery
by Daihao Yin, Yijun Cai, Yajing Li, Wenshan Yuan and Zhong Zhao
Drones 2024, 8(3), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030091 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1057
Abstract
Assessing the health status of old trees is crucial for the effective protection and health management of old trees. In this study, we utilized an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with multispectral cameras to capture images for the rapid assessment of the health [...] Read more.
Assessing the health status of old trees is crucial for the effective protection and health management of old trees. In this study, we utilized an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with multispectral cameras to capture images for the rapid assessment of the health status of old trees. All trees were classified according to health status into three classes: healthy, declining, and severe declining trees, based on the above-ground parts of the trees. Two traditional machine learning algorithms, Support Vector Machines (SVM) and Random Forest (RF), were employed to assess their health status. Both algorithms incorporated selected variables, as well as additional variables (aspect and canopy area). The results indicated that the inclusion of these additional variables improved the overall accuracy of the models by 8.3% to 13.9%, with kappa values ranging from 0.166 and 0.233. Among the models tested, the A-RF model (RF with aspect and canopy area variables) demonstrated the highest overall accuracy (75%) and kappa (0.571), making it the optimal choice for assessing the health condition of old trees. Overall, this research presents a novel and cost-effective approach to assessing the health status of old trees. Full article
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23 pages, 5781 KiB  
Article
Multi-Level Hazard Detection Using a UAV-Mounted Multi-Sensor for Levee Inspection
by Shan Su, Li Yan, Hong Xie, Changjun Chen, Xiong Zhang, Lyuzhou Gao and Rongling Zhang
Drones 2024, 8(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030090 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 894
Abstract
This paper introduces a developed multi-sensor integrated system comprising a thermal infrared camera, an RGB camera, and a LiDAR sensor, mounted on a lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This system is applied to the inspection tasks of levee engineering, enabling the real-time, rapid, [...] Read more.
This paper introduces a developed multi-sensor integrated system comprising a thermal infrared camera, an RGB camera, and a LiDAR sensor, mounted on a lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This system is applied to the inspection tasks of levee engineering, enabling the real-time, rapid, all-day, all-round, and non-contact acquisition of multi-source data for levee structures and their surrounding environments. Our aim is to address the inefficiencies, high costs, limited data diversity, and potential safety hazards associated with traditional methods, particularly concerning the structural safety of dam bodies. In the preprocessing stage of multi-source data, techniques such as thermal infrared data enhancement and multi-source data alignment are employed to enhance data quality and consistency. Subsequently, a multi-level approach to detecting and screening suspected risk areas is implemented, facilitating the rapid localization of potential hazard zones and assisting in assessing the urgency of addressing these concerns. The reliability of the developed multi-sensor equipment and the multi-level suspected hazard detection algorithm is validated through on-site levee engineering inspections conducted during flood disasters. The application reliably detects and locates suspected hazards, significantly reducing the time and resource costs associated with levee inspections. Moreover, it mitigates safety risks for personnel engaged in levee inspections. Therefore, this method provides reliable data support and technical services for levee inspection, hazard identification, flood control, and disaster reduction. Full article
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19 pages, 8294 KiB  
Article
Research of Slamming Load Characteristics during Trans-Media Aircraft Entry into Water
by Xinyu Liu, Liguo Tan, Xinbin Zhang and Liang Li
Drones 2024, 8(3), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030089 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 722
Abstract
The trans-media aircraft water entry process generates strong slamming loads that will seriously affect the stability and safety of the aircraft. To address this problem, we design a fixed-wing aircraft configuration and employ numerical simulations with the volume of fluid (VOF) multiphase flow [...] Read more.
The trans-media aircraft water entry process generates strong slamming loads that will seriously affect the stability and safety of the aircraft. To address this problem, we design a fixed-wing aircraft configuration and employ numerical simulations with the volume of fluid (VOF) multiphase flow model, standard k-epsilon turbulence model, and dynamic mesh technique. We explore the characteristics of aircraft subjected to bang loads under different conditions. The results show the following: the pressure load on the aircraft surface increases with higher water entry velocity; larger entry angles lead to more drastic changes in the aircraft’s drag coefficient, demonstrating strong nonlinear characteristics; the greater the angle of attack into the water, the greater the pressure load on the root underneath the wing, with little effect on the pressure load on the head; and the water entry drag coefficient and average pressure load follow an increasing order of conical head, hemispherical head, and flat head. These findings provide theoretical references for studying the load characteristics during trans-media water entry of various flying bodies and optimizing fuselage structural strength. Full article
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20 pages, 3010 KiB  
Article
Yield Prediction Using NDVI Values from GreenSeeker and MicaSense Cameras at Different Stages of Winter Wheat Phenology
by Sándor Zsebő, László Bede, Gábor Kukorelli, István Mihály Kulmány, Gábor Milics, Dávid Stencinger, Gergely Teschner, Zoltán Varga, Viktória Vona and Attila József Kovács
Drones 2024, 8(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030088 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1222
Abstract
This work aims to compare and statistically analyze Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values provided by GreenSeeker handheld crop sensor measurements and calculate NDVI values derived from the MicaSense RedEdge-MX Dual Camera, to predict in-season winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) yield, improving [...] Read more.
This work aims to compare and statistically analyze Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values provided by GreenSeeker handheld crop sensor measurements and calculate NDVI values derived from the MicaSense RedEdge-MX Dual Camera, to predict in-season winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) yield, improving a yield prediction model with cumulative growing degree days (CGDD) and days from sowing (DFS) data. The study area was located in Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary. A small-scale field trial in winter wheat was constructed as a randomized block design including Environmental: N-135.3, P2O5-77.5, K2O-0; Balance: N-135.1, P2O5-91, K2O-0; Genezis: N-135, P2O5-75, K2O-45; and Control: N, P, K 0 kg/ha. The crop growth was monitored every second week between April and June 2022 and 2023, respectively. NDVI measurements recorded by GreenSeeker were taken at three pre-defined GPS points for each plot; NDVI values based on the MicaSense camera Red and NIR bands were calculated for the same points. Results showed a significant difference (p ≤ 0.05) between the Control and treated areas by GreenSeeker measurements and Micasense-based calculated NDVI values throughout the growing season, except for the heading stage. At the heading stage, significant differences could be measured by GreenSeeker. However, remotely sensed images did not show significant differences between the treated and Control parcels. Nevertheless, both sensors were found suitable for yield prediction, and 226 DAS was the most appropriate date for predicting winter wheat’s yield in treated plots based on NDVI values and meteorological data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances of UAV in Precision Agriculture)
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4 pages, 154 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue on Intelligent Image Processing and Sensing for Drones
by Seokwon Yeom
Drones 2024, 8(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030087 - 04 Mar 2024
Viewed by 988
Abstract
Recently, the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for various purposes has been increasing [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Image Processing and Sensing for Drones)
19 pages, 2558 KiB  
Article
Collision Avoidance Capabilities in High-Density Airspace Using the Universal Access Transceiver ADS-B Messages
by Coulton Karch, Jonathan Barrett, Jaron Ellingson, Cameron K. Peterson and V. Michael Contarino
Drones 2024, 8(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030086 - 01 Mar 2024
Viewed by 972
Abstract
The safe integration of a large number of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) into the National Airspace System (NAS) is essential for advanced air mobility. This requires reliable air-to-air transmission systems and robust collision avoidance algorithms. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a potential solution [...] Read more.
The safe integration of a large number of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) into the National Airspace System (NAS) is essential for advanced air mobility. This requires reliable air-to-air transmission systems and robust collision avoidance algorithms. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a potential solution for a dependable air-to-air messaging system, but its reliability when stressed with hundreds to thousands of vehicles operating simultaneously is in question. This paper presents an ADS-B model and analyzes the capabilities of the Universal Access Transceiver (UAT), which operates at a frequency of 978 MHz. We use a probabilistic collision avoidance algorithm to examine the impact of varying parameters, including the number of vehicles and the transmission power of the UAT, on the overall safety of the vehicles. Additionally, we investigate the root causes of co-channel interference, proposing enhancements for safe operations in environments with a high density of UAS. Simulation results show message success and collision rates. With our proposed enhancements, UAT ADS-B can provide a decentralized air traffic system that operates safely in high-density situations. Full article
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