The ground control station is designed for surveillance missions involving a fleet of crewless aerial vehicles. It is a computer program built from the ground up using open source libraries and in the form of a secure and decentralized system. It enables the user to operate it, assign the UAVs to various jobs that can be changed on-the-fly, and display information about their operations in a realistic three-dimensional setting.
To help the pilot, the ground control stations are built in charge of a complex system with a high degree of difficulty. To lighten his load, he uses a slew of UAVs. The multi-drone system field tests have shown the surveillance system’s effectiveness with two visual cameras mounted on the quadrotors.
A team of crewless aerial vehicles (UAVs), a network of ground cameras, and the station itself comprise the validation system for the ground control station. The fundamental purpose of the GCS design was to make command and control of a multi-UAV surveillance system as simple as possible to keep the operator’s burden minimum. It was created with a single controller in mind, the user who has to be able to control multiple interacting UAVs to carry out missions in a coordinated manner.
Among other things, the following considerations are added to the design:
- The GCS can detect insertions and deletions automatically. There should be visual alerts when the GCS detects an anomaly.
- Many occurrences could occur during the procedure issues with the system, such as a low battery level or ground-based camera video transmission.
- The GCS can display all the necessary information.
- It is informed of the current state of every UAV. Selecting the correct information is essential to keep the operator off the unnecessary burden.
- Each UAV is considered to have some degree of autonomous decision-making capability, so the user doesn’t have to constantly monitor the status of all the UAVs in the system.
In the ground control stations, a user can designate the missions and duties that the platform will carry out and monitor the progress platform’s several components. Alternatively, this area can be seen in detail thanks to the network of ground cameras. Two quadrotors from Ascending Technologies’ Pelican model were used in the system. The cargo capacity of this quadrotor was sufficient (500 g) for carrying out specific assignments. It has an Intel processor and onboard Atom to attach additional sensors and devices. Mini USB interfaces are commonly used to connect cameras. The crewless aerial vehicle (UAV) aircraft has flight autonomy of about fifteen minutes at maximum power.
The architecture chosen for the system has shown to be an effective way to build a multi-UAV surveillance system quickly. The GCS was designed to take advantage of the multi-UAV system’s autonomous capabilities to reduce the operator’s burden. Therefore, the creation of GCS opened the door to the whole potential of the system to make use of the autonomous multi-UAV system simultaneously, providing an easy-to-use interface. The GCS may include information from various sensors, not only ground cameras.