The UASL is led by Professor Nabil Aouf and is part of the Centre for Electronic Warfare Information and Cyber (CEWIC) works very closely with industrial organisations that have a strong heritage in autonomous systems research. Read more Read less

UASL is establishing itself more and more as a world leader in the applications related to automatic sensing and processing and intelligence autonomy of unmanned vehicles. In GPS denied navigation of UAVs for example, UASL developed innovative imaging based solutions using either monocular visible camera or stereo visible cameras for one or multiple cooperative UAVs. Furthermore, it developed a unique navigation systems based on multispectral visible-infrared stereo imaging systems that fits needs of a lot of military type of applications. UASL also leads all activities linked to infrared-based/3D seekers and particularly detection, tracking and recognition of targets for missile applications.

Summary of applications

UASL is equipped using its research funding with the necessary facilities to make sure the algorithms developed could be validated in extensive experiments. Indeed, the laboratory has two indoor localisation systems to use as ground truth in our navigation experiments. The first equipment is a multi-view calibrated camera based system providing accuracy of up to 3-4cm in position. The second equipment is a high quality laser based motion tracking system able to provide an indoor localisation within a millimeter for Vehicles from ground robotic platforms to aerial vehicles such as Quadrotors have been acquired for use indoor and outdoor. Other systems including infrared and visible band cameras and acoustic sensors are available to use for the research intended by UASL team.

About the facility

In addition to Professor Nabil Aouf, UASL is comprised of:

  • 1 Lecturer
  • 2 Research Fellows
  • 11 PhD students

The research work developed at UASL is not only recognised at the national level but also and very much at the international level. Indeed, the laboratory expertise in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle navigation has been, in 2009, selected and funded by European FP7 Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme to further investigate through an International Cooperation Program for Unmanned Aerial Systems Research and Development in collaboration with Polytechnic University Madrid and The Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA), Queensland University of Technology to what extent navigation and planning decisions and intelligence could be provided safely to unmanned aerial systems. UASL secured funding from BAE systems and EPSRC in 2010 to investigate initial research concepts of cooperative mosaicking for multiple UGVs guidance. In 2013, another program of research co-sponsored by MBDA system and EPSRC to investigate cooperative navigation for multiple UAVs has been finalised. In addition, UASL has been selected by ESA in a number of occasions under European open competition NPI schemes to contribute in a number of research programs related to navigation and autonomy of systems. One of those programs was related to the famous ExoMars program, to develop Mars Rover robot vision based localisation. Currently, UASL is leading technical activities in two major and highly competitive defence research programs under MCM ITP, which is a UK MoD and DGA funded partnership. These programs are named 3D Automatic Target Recognition Seekers and Architecture and Rapid Static Target Modeling respectively. In the former, we lead 3D ATR and Man in the loop interface/decision for 3D based seekers activities. In the later we optimize the 3D modeling of scenes for missile planning.

Current PhD Supervision

  • Visible band, multi-spectral and thermal stereo navigation for ground and air vehicles
  • Investigation of convex optimisation techniques in problems of motion and pose estimation
  • Fault Detection and Isolation for UAVs Inertial Navigation Systems
  • Robust Vision-Based Slope Estimation and Rocks Detection for an Autonomous Space Lander
  • Infrared (IR) Based Relative Navigation and Guidance for Active Debris Removal
  • 3D Automatic Target Recognition for future LIDAR based missiles
  • Increasing Micro UAVs Autonomy Via Vision Based Control (Application to power assets Inspection)
  • Acoustic and Video detection and localization in sensors networks
  • Optimal Fault-tolerant Flight Tracking Control for Aircraft with Imperfect Actuators.
  • Robust 3D Registration and Tracking with RGBD Sensors
  • Haptic/Active Stick Tele-operation for UAVs
  • Enhanced Speech recognition with fused audio and video modalities