in Conceptual Design
Robert Morris, Anjan Chakrabarty
n Aircraft design is an iterative process
of creating a design concept from a set of
requirements. Conceptual design is an
early phase in the process, during which
preliminary decisions and trade studies
are made from a set of requirements
related to mission objective and costs.
Although much attention has been paid
to applying autonomy technologies to
robotic systems, including air vehicles,
there has been little attention paid
to incorporating autonomy as part of
the conceptual design process. Consequently, designing for autonomy tends
to be retrofitted to a vehicle that has
already gone through a complete design
process rather than as part of the initial
process. This derivative approach to
designing autonomous systems is suboptimal, and there is evidence that this
has hindered the acceptance of autonomy technologies. This article proposes
an approach to conceptual design for
aircraft that incorporates autonomy
into the conceptual design process. To
illustrate the principles introduced, we
consider the example of configuring an
autonomous small unmanned aerial
vehicle for searching and tracking a
target of interest.
Aircraft design is the iterative process of creating a de- tailed design concept from a set of requirements. Tra- ditionally, conceptual design is an early phase in the
process, during which preliminary decisions and trade studies
are made about vehicle aerodynamics, structures, propulsion,
stability, and control from a set of requirements related to
mission and costs.
Recent advances in autonomy for complex robotic systems
pose potentially significant changes in the design process.
Machine autonomy is realized through hardware and AI
software for sensing, communication, control, and navigation.
Autonomy has been proposed for a wide range of robotic
systems, from Mars rovers (Wettergreen et al. 2014; Jonsson,
Morris, and Pedersen 2007) to self-driving cars (Bayouth,
Nourbakhsh, and Thorpe 1997).