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Systems of Systems & Integration

Annual Plan

Energy Management of Multi‐Scale Vehicle Fleets

Project Summary

Principal Investigators

  • Beshah Ayalew (PI), Clemson University
  • Ardalan Vahidi, Jeff Zhang, Mohammad Naghnaeian, Pierluigi Pisu (Co‐ PIs) Clemson University


  • Kartik Loya, Quentin De Boever, Nathan Goulet, Clemson University


  • Denise Rizzo, Dean McGrew, Annette Skowronksa, Matthew Castanier, U.S. Army GVSC


  • TBD

Project begins June 2020, estimated duration 2 years.

For the US military, the fully burdened cost of fuel (FBCF) can be over 100 times higher than that of civilian mobility applications. While fuel is the primary energy source, there is also a need for generating electrical energy to meet demand at various scales, from a host of small warfighter equipment, to utility scale loads at forward operating bases during initial set up or emergencies. Furthermore, the increasing deployment of unmanned ground and aerial vehicles (UGVs, UAVs) in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and in war theaters, is accompanied by critical demands for electrical power for these vehicles’ on‐board sensing, actuation, and computation devices. At another scale, force sustainment often involves resupply convoys of tactical vehicles that consume large amounts of fuel. At all these scales, there is a need for systematic energy‐ware vehicle fleet planning and control systems that autonomously work across these scales to save energy and sustain missions. For GVSC, there is a need to create modeling and simulation tools and capabilities that facilitate the design and implementation of energy management schemes for multi‐scale ground vehicles.

The objective this project is to research and develop energy coordination strategies for heterogenous fleets of manned and unmanned vehicles of varying scales operating in a resource constrained environment such as in a forward operating base, or in a surveillance and reconnaissance mission, or for sustainment and resupply missions with convoys. The project’s fundamental research question is how to design and deploy robust energy‐aware planning and control schemes for fleets of vehicles operating in such environments in a way that leverages situational and mapping information, including for exploitation of energy generation and re‐distribution/sharing opportunities with microgrids. In particular, we consider microgrids (MGs) that can be made mobile, such as formed with tactical vehicles that host generators, solar panels, and fuel cells and can be strategically placed in optimal positions or given optimally planned trajectories for a given mission. One goal, for an ISR mission for example, is to provide maximal coverage of all target areas with energy constrained UGVs and UAVs, by coordinating the energy‐utilization plan for both the host mobile MGs as well as the UGVs and UAVs. For UGVs, in particular, the achievable range is dynamically dependent on the terrain elevation and trafficability conditions, both of which can be previewed from mapping and environmental perception capabilities and used to make optimal energy utilization plans for the UGVs. This consideration can be readily extended to unmanned or mixed resupply UGVs. There are several basic and inter‐related optimization problems that arise here that will be addressed in a hierarchical manner in this project.