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Socially Responsible Drones

Do you have concerns or ideas about drones?
If so, help us make drone flying socially responsible. We, the Unmanned Aviation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley are communicating public opinion to policy makers. Our goal is to learn if and how drone flying can be safe, secure, environmentally responsible and respectful of privacy.

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What We Do

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Air Highway Design, Routing & Collision Avoidance

To reduce the computational complexity of the drone-drone avoidance problem, we plan to develop an air highway system. The system also avoids geographical areas with high population density, to reduce disturbance to human life and ensure safety. The basic principles would be referenced and modified from the existing highway design literature. On top of the air highways, routing algorithms for UAV’s will be developed. In addition, a merging algorithms from departing location or after-avoidance locations to air highways, and a demerging algorithm from highway to destination, need to be developed. As a preliminary exercise, we developed a single-origin-multiple-destination air highway system using the Fast Marching method. The idea is to avoid areas with dense populations and tall obstacles. From simulations, the paths are 5% to 20% longer than straight-line routes from the Amazon Fulfillment Center at Tracy to various cities in the Bay Area, which is acceptable given that the routes are safer in inhabited areas.


Air Highways


We work on collision avoidance problems and highway design for low altitude airspace

Drone License Plate

Once flights paths have been accepted and airspace permissions have been set, enforcement becomes the next concern. According to Waley (Automobile License Plate for Illinois - 1937), a car license plate is well designed when they have legibility in daylight from at least 125 ft. Similarly, we are creating a drone identification system for low altitude flight, in a way any person can look at the drone for few seconds and detect it at least by 400 ft. The objective is to create a system of traceable identity for UASs. The way we found to make a visible code is using visible LED color sequences for each UAS. This identification technology is integrated with ADS-B, displaying a unique code both through RF and through visible LEDs. With this technology, NASA will have the traceability of the UASs registered to the UTM while they fly, also NASA can easily detect drones that doesn't have the identification system, like a car driving without license plate. Besides the way used to transmit the identification code (LED or RF), we are studying also the size of the code, how many combinations will be available in order to scale up with the growth of the UAS in the airspace. For more information visit www.lightcense.co


UAS Identification System


We develop technologies for regulation of consumer drones

Air Parcel Management System

According to FAA regulations (under the 333 exemptions- ) and laws under discussion drone pilots require the consent of the owner in order to fly over private property. As drone policy proceeds in this direction, regulation of future flights necessitates some form of continued communication between pilots and property owners. To tackle this, we are approaching the problem of regulating low airspace navigation from the land ownership model. A property owner (like an Individual, City or County) may provide full, partial or no restriction for a UAS flying in the air parcel above. The current build of NASA’s UTM system checks new flight paths against existing reserved paths and geofences. If accepted, a polygonal prism of airspace is reserved along the entire flight path for the duration of the flight. Our system breaks up the complexity of checking the large number of flight paths against static (air parcels/geofences) and dynamic (other flights) obstacles into two parallely running platforms. A flight operator inputs the path and it is verified based on the existing air parcel permissions in our air parcel system and if it checks through, it is forwarded to the UTM to be checked against existing flight paths thus ensuring that most of the paths submitted to UTM are acceptable. Secondly, we would be able to retrieve active flight track data from the UTM via WFS requests and update them in real time. Thus even property owners can track which flights are expected to cross their air parcels. There are several research problems in understanding the complexities in this large scale implementation of such a system. Efficient data structures and algorithms are needed in order to check constraints before flight, and in real-time if the flight paths change. At a higher level, this system can be conceptualized as distributing the control of a large scale airspace between consumers and FAA rather than a single centralized source.
Currently the system allows property owners to change permissions for the air parcel above their properties. To explore further visit unmanned.berkeley.edu/airspace


UAS Traffic Management


We are building a platform to enable consumers to have a say on who gets to fly over their land

Meet the Team

We are a team of multi discplinary researchers with skills including software development, hardware development, and behavioral modelling.

Leadership and Strategic Advisors

Dr. Raja Sengupta

Professor
CEE
UC, Berkeley

Dr. Aislan Foina

Lab Director
Civil Systems
CEE

Dr. Mark Hansen

Professor
CEE
UC, Berkeley

Frank Ketcham

Commercial Aviation Specialist
ITS, CEE

Christian Manasseh

CEO
Mobius Logic

Drew Van Duren

Systems Engineer
Leidos

Researchers

Zhilong Liu

PhD Student
Civil Systems
CEE

Vishwanath Bulusu

PhD Student
Civil Systems
CEE

Fadi Kfoury

PhD Student
Civil Systems
CEE

Dalmir Hasic

Visiting Scholar
CS
University of Salzburg

Patrick Lerchi

Undergraduate Researcher
CEE

Miguel Soto

Undergraduate Researcher
CEE

Rachel Zhang

Undergraduate Researcher
ME

Justin Lee

Undergraduate Researcher
ME

Jeffrey Kurohara

Undergraduate Researcher
ME

Publications


Conference Papers


Partners


Associated Labs

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Keep in Touch

Give us a call or drop us a line.

Phone

+1 (510) 717-0632

Email

rajasengupta@berkeley.edu

Location

Davis Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720