Year of Publication

2007

Document Type

Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

James E. Lumpp

Abstract

Over the last decade, research into unmanned and autonomous vehicles has greatly increased. With applications ranging from science and exploration to humanitarian and military efforts, the rising need for autonomous vehicles demands constant innovation and growth. The Intelligent Dependable Embedded Architectures (IDEA) lab at the University of Kentucky is continually launching research oriented programs [1]. A few key projects focus on the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Through this research, at the University of Kentucky, the need to develop a reliable, lightweight, node based hardware for use in light UAVs and other unmanned and autonomous vehicles became apparent. This paper addresses the design and implementation of a network processing node for light UAVs. This system utilizes a Controller Area Network (CAN) noise tolerant communications bus, a low power ZigBee Wireless Network for expanded inner plane communications and Silicon Laboratories C8051F041 microcontrollers to provide the necessary inputs/output and data processing. The final result will be a flight ready light UAV featuring distributed processing nodes to handle the servo communications and controls.

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