Through their research, Iowa State graduate students Salil Purandare and Urjoshi Sinha (MS 2023) along with fellow graduate student Md. Nafee Al Islam (University of Notre Dame) and their advisors, Professor Myra Cohen (Iowa State University) and Jane Cleland-Huang (Notre Dame), are hoping to allow drone users to fly missions more safely. Their research, which won the best student paper at this year’s Symposium on Software Engineering for Adaptive and Self-Managing Systems (SEAMS), 2023, focuses on understanding the impact of configurations on drone flight behavior.
“By promoting stable and reliable flight behavior,” says Salil, “we hope to improve the performance of drones on a variety of tasks, including search, delivery, and disaster response.”
SEAMS is a CORE-A ranked conference on applying software engineering processes to self-adaptive and autonomous systems that adapt and change to their changing environment. SEAMS is a collated event with the yearly International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE.
As the paper’s first author, Salil, led the research and attended and presented the paper in Melbourne Australia in May. This was his first opportunity to present a research paper in person at a conference. His paper presents CICADA (Controller Instability-preventing Configuration Aware Drone Adaptation), a technique to dynamically detect unstable behavior in small uncrewed aerial systems (sUAS). sUAS perform a variety of surveillance, search and delivery tasks in remote or hostile terrains, which are often inaccessible by other modes. It is vital they are well configured and can succeed in their missions. CICADA provides an adaptive mechanism allowing missions to detect and recover from misconfigurations. In his experiments, he demonstrated several types of adaptations that can be applied to either complete the mission or stabilize and land it when that is not possible.