NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Look! In the air, is it a bird or a plane? If you are near the campus of Tennessee State University chances are what you see is a TSU Unmanned Aerial Vehicle from the college of engineering.
Since 2006 Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has been involved in research to detect moving targets from aerial vehicles.
Specifically, students are conducting research in the area of Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) project funded by the U. S. Air Force Research Laboratory under the Minority Leadership Program (MLP).
The primary objective of the research is to develop real-time algorithms for detecting moving targets, identifying targets and tracking in cluttered environments. TSU’s research is led by Dr. Fenghui Yao, professor in the department of computer science, and Dr. Mohan Malkani, associate dean in the college of engineering.
“Both undergraduate and graduate students in engineering have an opportunity to take part in the research project,” said Dr. Yao. “Our intent is to expose as many students as possible to the research. The students can learn how to develop these technologies and apply them to corresponding fields.”
On clear days professor Yao, along with electrical engineering professor Saleh Zein-Sabatto, can be seen with students conducting test flights around campus by flying a small research helicopter. The XR-20 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the helicopter equipped with a moving sensor platform containing a camera with tilt, zoom and pan capabilities is used to generate the aerial video data for the development and evaluation of the real-time target detection and tracking algorithms.
The technology, when fully developed, will have several objectives including moving-object detection. In addition, the UAV must avoid detecting non-stationary background objectives such as moving leaves, rain, snow, and shadows caused by moving objects.
According to Dr. Yao, perfection of these objectives will give the UAV technology a wide range of applications and not just the stereotypical wartime spy use usually associated with surveillance technology.
“This technology has wide application areas besides battlefield application,” Yao said. “The UAV can be used as border control,