Managing the UAV data explosion

By W Warren, Raima Inc


Published in:

Electricity + Control, June 2015 (pages 36 – 37)

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A recent report on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) forecasts that the global market could be expected to grow to over $ 114 bn by 2023, driven by a combination of technical advances and burgeoning demand. Between flight control, data acquisition and in-flight functions, managing large amounts of data is key to their successful use.

A UAV will incorporate multiple sensors for on-board monitoring, feeding data to and from the flight control and flight management systems. The principle task of the flight management system is to determine the aircraft’s position and to verify the accuracy of that position. A modern flight management system might use numerous sensors (including GPS, radio aids and inertial reference systems), and continually cross check these sensor values to verify absolute position and any deviation from a reference flight control plan. At the same time, the flight control system is continually monitoring attitude and altitude (perhaps with vision technology), inertial data, fuel data and more. All of this data has be stored and managed from within the UAV’s own embedded operating system, which will necessarily be resource-limited.


Take note

  • Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are becoming common and vital in various roles in the 21st Century.
  • The functions are becoming increasingly complex as UAVs are being developed for more demanding tasks.
  • In South Africa, regulations will come into force in July 2015 regarding the use of remotely piloted aircraft systems or drones.