Autonomous Search for Environmental Monitoring: A Control-Theoretic Approach

Chen, Wenhua
Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering
Loughborough University, UK


This talk presents recent work in searching and approaching unknown sources of airborne chemical and biological substance release using a ground mobile robot or an unmanned aerial vehicle. Hazard substance release in atmosphere is of major concerns in environment monitoring, anti-terrorist, and disaster and emergence management. Different from the current information theoretic approach, a control theoretic approach is proposed to design the autonomous search system. It consists of chemical sensors, mobile sensor platforms, reasoning and planning/control algorithms. By utilising the current and previous chemical sensor readings, reasoning algorithms developed in a Bayesian framework estimate key parameters associated with the release and environment conditions. A dual control framework is proposed to balance driving the robot to an estimated source location and reducing uncertainty in its estimation. This combined Bayesian inference and dual control framework is able to drive the sensor platform approaching unknown sources under an unknown environment condition without a specified goal location and driving path. The Bayesian inference algorithms are implemented through the particle filtering technique. Experimental tests of the complete system were successfully conducted, which overcome the challenges of intermittent sensor readings due to air turbulent conditions, unknown release including location and release rate, unknown environment conditions (e.g. wind direction and speed) and a high level of noise to signal ratio in chemical sensors. The developed autonomous olfactory systems could be widely used in environment protection and monitoring, oil and gas industry, and disaster or emergency management, keeping the first responders out of harm.     see more>>>



Multiagent Systems: Decentralized, Distributed and Cloud-Based Control Strategies

Magdi S. Mahmoud
Systems Engineering Department
KFUPM, Saudi Arabia


An integral ingredient to the operation of industrial or engineering systems, including cooperative robotics, sensor networks, and grid computing, is its control architecture consisting of hardware and software protocols for exchanging system status and control signals. In conventional systems, this is accomplished by Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Current trends to control and monitor the operation of industrial or engineering systems are however moving toward the use of an automated agent technology, which is generally known as a multiagent system (MAS). A multiagent system is a combination of several agents working in collaboration pursuing assigned tasks to achieve the overall goal of the system. The MAS has become an increasingly powerful tool in developing complex systems that take advantages of agent properties and it is autonomous in that they operate without human interventions.     see more>>>



Extended Kalman Filters for Estimation Problems in Industrial Applications

Paolo, Mercorelli
Institute of Product and Process Innovation
University of Lueneburg, Germany


Kalman’s optimum linear filter has proved to be very popular. Nevertheless, very often it is not always possible to use a linear system in practical applications. Extended Kalman Filters (EKFs) are used in different fields of industrial applications to reduce the number of sensors and simultaneously to improve the quality of the signals available from the process. EKFs are numerical efficient structures applied through microcontrollers in real industrial applications. Therefore, EKF approach appears to be one of the most suitable ones for problem estimation. The strategic choice of an EKF approach can be justified if the deterministic part of the model can be considered “dominant” and thus in this context, a first order linearized approach, which the EKF is based on, can be taken into consideration for possible industrial applications. After a short overview on the fundamental aspects of the background of EKF, this presentation intends to show how EKFs can be applied as an estimator in different fields of applications such as, for instance, in Thermal Systems, Flexible Actuators, Electromagnetic Actuators, Lithium-Ion Battery as well as in Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors and other systems. Each System is analyzed in accordance with its physical inside, its intrinsic challenges and dedicated EKFs are proposed to solve specific issues of the considered real application. Measured results related to each application are shown and discussed.     see more>>>



Distributed fault-tolerant environments monitoring systems for aircraft cabins

Wang, Rui
Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation
Civil Aviation University of China, China


In case unexpected environmental events happen in aircraft cabins or cargos, the flight safety and the health safety of passengers and crew members will be considerably affected since aircraft cabins, cargos and avionics compartments are located in a narrow and closed limited spaces. Disasters include cases like wires becoming aging leading to self-burning producing contaminants like CO, inhalable particles, etc. Therefore, studies on the methods of monitoring cabin environments and providing alerts timely and accurately become ultimately important. In this talk, 3D deployment of wireless sensor network in the aircraft, the environmental parameters measurement methods and models over a network system and the multi-stage hybrid data fusion decision algorithms will be presented. Some simulation verifications will also be shown and discussed. The goal of this study is to going to suggest new methods to monitor aircraft environments accurately, timely stably and reliably while decreasing the false alarm rate.     see more>>>