Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

YangQuan Chen


YangQuan Chen


Mac McKee


David Geller


Edmund Spencer


Ryan Gerdes


In the coming 20 years, unmanned aerial data collection will be of great importance to many sectors of civilian life. Of these systems, Personal Remote Sensing (PRS) Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUASs), which are designed for scientic data collection, will need special attention due to their low cost and high value for farming, scientic, and search-andrescue uses, among countless others. Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs: large-scale, pervasive automated systems that tightly couple sensing and actuation through technology and the environment) can use sUASs as sensors and actuators, leading to even greater possibilities for benet from sUASs. However, this nascent robotic technology presents as many problems as possibilities due to the challenges surrounding the abilities of these systems to perform safely and eectively for personal, academic, and business use. For these systems, whose missions are dened by the data they are sent to collect, safe and reliable mission quality is of highest importance. Much like the dawning of civil manned aviation, civilian sUAS ights demand privacy, accountability, and other ethical factors for societal integration, while safety of the civilian National Airspace (NAS) is always of utmost importance. While the growing popularity of this technology will drive a great effort to integrate sUASs into the NAS, the only long-term solution to this integration problem is one of proper architecture. In this research, a set of architectural requirements for this integration is presented: the Architecture for Ethical Aerial Information Sensing or AERIS. AERIS provides a cohesive set of requirements for any architecture or set of architectures designed for safe, ethical, accurate aerial data collection.

In addition to an overview and showcase of possibilities for sUAS-enabled CPSs, specific examples of AERIS-compatible sUAS architectures using various aerospace design methods are shown. Technical contributions include specic improvements to sUAS payload architecture and control software, inertial navigation and complementary lters, and online energy and health state estimation for lithium-polymer batteries in sUAS missions. Several existing sUASs are proled for their ability to comply with AERIS, and the possibilities of AERIS data-driven missions overall is addressed.