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Implementation of Pilot Authority and Control of Tasks with application to autonomous decision-making for Unmanned Air Vehicles

Project Author - Thomas Bamber
Project Supervisors - Prof. Wen-Hua Chen, Dr John Pearson
This project lead to the publication of a conference paper in collaboration with Andrei Fensan a placement PhD student:
 ICAC12 4002: Andrei Fenesan, Thomas Bamber, Owen McAree, Wen-Hua Chen
'Building an electric model vehicle with obstacle avoidance system'
Project Description

The project was a work package to implement Pilot Authority and Control of Tasks (PACT) autonomous decision making on a platform UAV: within the BAE Systems Engineering Innovation centre and Loughborough University laboratories.

The project can be broken down as follows:
  • A UAV platform Locally Controlled - A vehicle to do the testing on
  • Implementation of the pilot authority and control of tasks decision-making protocol locally for the set scenario ''collision avoidance''
  • Communications channel between the two labs
  • Tying the two together over the communications channel
  • Testing, Validation and proof of Project

What is PACT?

Pilot Authority and Control of Tasks (PACT) uses military technology to define clear operational relationships between the pilot and the UAV. The PACT protocol was designed by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)/Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) as part of a proof-of-concept demonstration, which developed a prototype cognitive cockpit (or Cogpit)

The PACT protocols assume that the 'pilot makes a PACT contract with the autonomy by allocating tasks to PACT modes and levels of automation aiding'. The PACT levels were chosen over the Autonomy Control Level Chart (ACL), as the 'ACL chart is considered to have limitations in that it is descriptive of the autonomy level of a complete vehicle and does not lend itself to considering autonomy at the function level. In addition it seems to impose an artificial ceiling on the autonomy that can be achieved for an individual vehicle when it introduces group and swarm behaviour into the equation.' The PACT protocols are a much better method of depicting the level of autonomy and will be much more useful for any implementation. A revision on the PACT protocols was made by Alan F Hill et al at the Systems Engineering for Autonomous Systems (SEAS) Defence Technology Centre (DTC) Technical conference where they considered levels five and four of the original levels to be `somewhat coarse'.

Robot System Identification

Indoor Collision Avoidance



Carefree handling Autonomous Height and Headspeed Hold

Outdoor Collision Avoidance