Unmanned Aerial System Autonomous Search of Limited Area for Radiological Threats


The goal of this effort is to prove the concept of automated UAS to conduct radiation
detection operations in a cluttered three-dimensional environment such as a cargo container yard,
stadium, or
parking lot. The only operator action will be to define the boundaries of the environment to be
searched, to include defining basic search parameters (e.g. minimum separation distance from
obstacles and flight line spacing). The UAS may include multiple small unmanned aerial vehicles.
UAS capabilities must include:

1.   Operation within 2 m of objects to be inspected during flight.
2.   Detection of anomalous gamma-ray and neutron radiation. The onboard radiation detection
systems will meet the radiological test detection requirements of the ANSI N42.48.
3.   Production of a real-time “heat map” for radiation as flight is conducted.
4.   Dwelling at locations where radiation anomalies are identified for as little as 30 seconds and
no more than 5 minutes.
5.   Optimization of search pattern to minimize search time while maintaining the ability to
localize and identify radiological threats, including the ability to provide the operator with
search time and battery usage estimates based on the definition of optimized search area and flight
parameters provided by the operator.
6.   LIDAR for collision avoidance and to map search area and using that information to develop an
optimized search pattern.
7.   Visual cameras to provide live feed of flight profile.
8.   The ability to transmit location information of one small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
relative to the object being scanned and other unmanned aerial vehicles (if applicable).
9.   Logging and transmitting to the operator and/or a designated reachback center geo-referenced
gamma- ray spectra, visual imagery, LIDAR profile, and all flight parameters when the UAS records
either a gamma-ray or neutron alarm.
10. Flexible communications (Satellite, Cellular Tower, Wireless, hardwired, etc.) depending on
what is available at a given deployment location.
11. The ability to launch from a designated site, perform search, and return before running out of
power or when “mission” is complete.
12. Communication of system health status back to operator (“heartbeat”).
13. Recharging for subsequent assignment.
14. A human interface that allows for all automated functions to be controlled manually.
15. A “kill” button for emergency power-down on both the human interface and the unmanned aerial
vehicle itself.

16. Field repairs on limited life components prone to deteriorate due to the nature of their
17. Running full diagnostics on the UAS platform for maintenance purposes as well as firmware

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