Situational Awareness and Sustained Survivability through Man/Unmanned Teaming

Principal Investigator: Dimitra Panagou, University of Michigan,
Student: William Bentz, James Usevitch, University of Michigan
Government: Thomas Meitzler, U.S. Army TARDEC

Project started in 2016 and is ongoing.Soldier, ground vehicle and friendly small UAV semi-autonomous system architecture

This project is motivated by the need for protection of Ground Vehicle (GV) systems against Aerial Threats, and in particular, against miniature and small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Small UAVs nowadays are low cost, sufficiently agile to fly aggressive maneuvers, and widely used by industry, academia, as well as hobbyists. Their simplicity, maneuverability and low cost make them a potential threat (surveillance, attack) against Ground Vehicles, either manned or unmanned, and personnel.

The Army is interested in enhancing the levels of active and passive protection of GVs, with Situational Awareness (or, see-understand-act) being the outermost level of survivability, and Hit-and-Kill Avoidance being the innermost level of survivability. GVs are in principle less agile than, and hence vulnerable to, small UAVs. It is thus of vital importance that GVs are equipped with systems that can detect and act against micro UAVs, so the operation of the latter in the vicinity of GVs is either eliminated, or sufficiently mitigated. The SQUAD project aims to address this need and will explore active countermeasures (both pro-active and re-active) against aerial threats, which not only will offer a powerful defensive system for GVs, but will furthermore increase the situational awareness of the Soldier in the GV. The proposed semi-autonomous system architecture employs a SQUAD comprising the Soldier/Ground Vehicle and friendly small UAVs (e.g., QUADrotors).


  • D. Panagou, D. M. Stipanovic and P. G. Voulgaris "Dynamic coverage control in unicycle multi-robot networks under anisotropic sensing", Frontiers in Robotics and AI: Multi-Robot Systems, March 2015, doi: 10.3389/frobt.2015.00003
  • D. Panagou, D. M. Stipanovic, and P. G. Voulgaris "Vision-based dynamic coverage control for nonholonomic agents", 53rd IEEE Conf. on Decision and Control, Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 2014