Dr. Franke was invited to join the the NSF-funded C-UAS

Joe’s Valley Reservoir Dam in Central Utah. We developed this entire model from about 3 minutes of video.

Dr. Kevin Franke was recently invited to join the NSF-funded Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) Industry/University Collaborative Research Center. The C-UAS is a joint research center operated by BYU and the University of Colorado-Boulder, and is currently advised by over twelve industrial members. Dr. Franke was invited to join the C-UAS to help develop a new research thrust focusing on infrastructure monitoring applications for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Together with BYU co-principal investigators Drs. John Hedengren (Chemical Engineering) and Ryan Farrell (Computer Science), Dr. Franke is currently working on a project funded by British Petroleum to perform sub-centimeter change detection using UAV-based computer vision models. Last summer, Drs. Franke and Hedengren received a donation from the US Bureau of Reclamation in Provo to fund a group of four undergraduate student researchers to investigate the possibility of using computer vision to monitor and inspect dams and canals. The team spent a few days in portions of Central Utah visiting several dams and canals, and developing computer vision models of those sites. Current discussions are being held with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, MS to possibly investigate the application of UAV-based computer vision to the monitoring and inspection of major levee systems that protect vital components of our infrastructure.

This exciting UAV research holds a lot of promise for developing a more resilient infrastructure, and it is extremely fun and challenging for the students (…and the faculty, too!) A few Youtube videos highlighting some of this work can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLBUgWXdTBDi0683eWW9FWWtaAYMnluUf

Eastern dam of Willard Bay. We flew 7 miles of the dam in about 15 minutes.

     

Spillway at Rock Canyon Park near the Provo Temple. The model on the left was developed using our fixed wing platform flying at about 40mph, and the model on the right was developed using our quadrotor platform flying at about 15 mph or less. Both used the same camera with less than 2 minutes of video to develop the models.

    

Fixed wing and quadrotor UAVs used by the research group. The fixed wing platform was built and customized by undergraduate ChemE and CEEn student researchers.