Applications of Drones (Volume II)

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310). This special issue belongs to the section "Aeronautics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2024) | Viewed by 8934

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, New Mexico Tech, Weir Hall, Room 208, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
Interests: drones (UAV/MAV/NAV/PAV): fixed wings, flapping wings, tilt-rotor/wing drones, morphing drones, space and marine drones
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, there is a growing need for flying drones with diverse capabilities for both civilian and military applications. There is also a significant interest in the development of novel drones, which can autonomously fly in different environments and locations and perform various missions. In the past decade, the broad spectrum of applications of these drones has received a great deal of attention, which led to the invention of a large variety of drones of different sizes and weights. Depending on the flight missions of the drones, the size and type of installed equipment are different. Considerable advantages afforded by the drones have led to a myriad of studies focusing on the optimization and enhancement of the drones’ performances. According to the mentioned characteristics, drones benefit from the potential to carry out a variety of operations, including reconnaissance, patrolling, protection, transportation of loads, and aerology. They can carry various sensors: visual, acoustic, chemical, and biological. Drones often vary widely in their configurations, depending on the platform and mission. Drones can perform both outdoor and indoor missions in very challenging environments. The applications of drones can be categorized in different ways. They can be based on the type of missions (military/civil), type of flight zones (outdoor/indoor), and type of environments (underwater/on the water/ground/air/space). This Special Issue invites submissions that discuss the novel applications of drones, including but not limited to:

  • Inspection, survey, and mapping;
  • Agriculture and environment research;
  • Search and rescue (SAR) missions;
  • Mailing and delivery;
  • Military missions;
  • Marine and underwater missions;
  • Drones and planetary exploration;
  • Drones and underground spaces;
  • Miscellaneous applications of drones;
  • Drones and fashion industries;
  • Drone applications in the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Drones and smart cities;
  • Drones and infrastructures;
  • Drones and 5G network coverages;
  • Drones and renewable energy power plants;
  • Integration of drones into airports.

Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • drone applications
  • space drones for planetary exploration
  • drones and marine environment
  • drones and indoor spaces
  • drones and COVID-19
  • future drone technologies

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 4149 KiB  
Article
Machine Learning Assisted Prediction of Airfoil Lift-to-Drag Characteristics for Mars Helicopter
by Pengyue Zhao, Xifeng Gao, Bo Zhao, Huan Liu, Jianwei Wu and Zongquan Deng
Aerospace 2023, 10(7), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10070614 - 04 Jul 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1683
Abstract
The aerodynamic properties of rotor systems operating within low Reynolds number flow field conditions are profoundly influenced by their geometric and flight parameters. Precise estimation of optimal airfoil parameters at different angles of attack is indispensable for enhancing these aerodynamic properties. This study [...] Read more.
The aerodynamic properties of rotor systems operating within low Reynolds number flow field conditions are profoundly influenced by their geometric and flight parameters. Precise estimation of optimal airfoil parameters at different angles of attack is indispensable for enhancing these aerodynamic properties. This study presents a technique for optimizing the airfoil parameters of a Mars helicopter by employing machine learning methods in conjunction with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, thereby circumventing the need for expensive experiments and simulations. The effectiveness of diverse machine learning algorithms for prediction is evaluated, and the resultant models are utilized for airfoil optimization. Ultimately, the aerodynamic properties of the optimized airfoil are experimentally validated. The experimental findings exhibit agreement with the simulated predictions, indicating the successful optimization of the aerodynamic properties. This research offers valuable insights into the influence of airfoil parameters on the aerodynamic properties of the Mars helicopter, along with guidance for airfoil optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Drones (Volume II))
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29 pages, 7877 KiB  
Article
Task Parameter Planning Algorithm for UAV Area Complete Coverage in EO Sector Scanning Mode
by Xianyong Jing, Manyi Hou, Wei Li, Cui Chen, Zhishu Feng and Mingwei Wang
Aerospace 2023, 10(7), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10070612 - 03 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 724
Abstract
When Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are used in search and rescue operations, electro-optical (EO) devices are usually used as the detection equipment, and area coverage is used as the main search method. However, the sector scanning mode of EO puts forward higher requirements [...] Read more.
When Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are used in search and rescue operations, electro-optical (EO) devices are usually used as the detection equipment, and area coverage is used as the main search method. However, the sector scanning mode of EO puts forward higher requirements for task parameter planning. First, to ensure there is no missing coverage, a method to determine the full coverage width of EO equipment in sector scanning mode is proposed. Second, the constraint of no interval missing and the model of the speed-to-high ratio constraint are established, and the constraints of other factors are addressed in the context of the problem situation. Third, a coverage efficiency index is proposed for the boustrophedon coverage of a rectangular area, and a comprehensive coverage index is established. Finally, task parameter planning algorithms are designed, based on Immune Algorithm (IA), Grey Wolf Optimization (GWO) and Variable Neighborhood Search (VNS), respectively. The simulation results showed that the designed algorithms, based on IA, GWO and VNS, can effectively solve task planning problems. In general, IA is more suitable for offline occasions, VNS is suitable for online real-time planning, and GWO has characteristics between the two. The coverage process, based on optimized parameters, meets all constraints, has higher search efficiency and does not miss areas, proving the correctness of these models and the effectiveness of the planning algorithm. The research presented in this paper provides a technical basis for efficient and fully automated target search and rescue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Drones (Volume II))
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10 pages, 2319 KiB  
Article
Three-Dimensional Drone Exploration with Saliency Prediction in Real Unknown Environments
by Ming-Ru Xie, Shing-Yun Jung and Kuan-Wen Chen
Aerospace 2023, 10(5), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10050488 - 22 May 2023
Viewed by 1202
Abstract
In this paper, we propose a three-dimensional autonomous drone exploration system (ADES) with a lightweight and low-latency saliency prediction model to explore unknown environments. Several studies have applied saliency prediction in drone exploration. However, these studies are not sufficiently mature. For example, the [...] Read more.
In this paper, we propose a three-dimensional autonomous drone exploration system (ADES) with a lightweight and low-latency saliency prediction model to explore unknown environments. Several studies have applied saliency prediction in drone exploration. However, these studies are not sufficiently mature. For example, the computational complexity and the size of the developed prediction models have not been considered. In addition, some studies have only proposed saliency prediction models without actually applying them to drones. The ADES system proposed in this paper has a small and fast saliency prediction model and uses a novel drone exploration approach based on visual-inertial odometry to solve the practical problems encountered during drone exploration, such as collisions with and the repeated exploration of salient objects. The proposed ADES system performs comparably to the state-of-the-art, multiple-discontinuous-image saliency prediction network TA-MSNet and enables drones to explore unknown environments with high efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Drones (Volume II))
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Review

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30 pages, 7093 KiB  
Review
UAV Platforms for Data Acquisition and Intervention Practices in Forestry: Towards More Intelligent Applications
by Huihui Sun, Hao Yan, Mostafa Hassanalian, Junguo Zhang and Abdessattar Abdelkefi
Aerospace 2023, 10(3), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace10030317 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4501
Abstract
Unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems for performing forestry applications have expanded in recent decades and have great economic benefits. They are validated to be more appealing than traditional platforms in various aspects, such as repeat rate, spatial resolution, and accuracy. This paper consolidates [...] Read more.
Unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems for performing forestry applications have expanded in recent decades and have great economic benefits. They are validated to be more appealing than traditional platforms in various aspects, such as repeat rate, spatial resolution, and accuracy. This paper consolidates the state-of-the-art unmanned systems in the forestry field with a major focus on UAV systems and heterogeneous platforms, which are applied in a variety of forestry applications, such as wood production, tree quantification, disease control, wildfire management, wildlife conservation, species classification, etc. This review also studies practical applications under multiple forestry environments, including wild and managed forests, grassland, urban green parks, and stockyards. Special forest environments and terrains present customized demands for unmanned systems. The challenges of unmanned systems deployment are analyzed from environmental characterization, maneuverability and mobility improvement, and global regulatory interpretation. To better apply UAV systems into forestry, future directions are analyzed in terms of mobility enhancement and customized sensory adaption, which need to be further developed for synchronizing all possible agents into automatic functioning systems for forestry exploration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Drones (Volume II))
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