MSCS2702: Unmanned Aircraft Technology for Computer Scientists

Credits 3
This course introduces the aeronautical foundations of unmanned aircraft structure and design. It focuses on the primary airframes of unmanned systems: fixed wing, rotorcraft, tiltrotor, and lighter than air along with various hybrid technologies. The course also introduces avionics, propulsion, and payload systems and their interactions and control through computer busses and architecture. A central focus of the course is the interaction of computer structures with the aircraft to promote safety while managing the foundational stability and control properties of the aircraft: lift, thrust, drag, and weight. A survey of aeronautical principles is presented along with aerodynamics and aviation science. Technologies such as launch and recovery systems, GPS, communications, ground stations, data-link technologies, and wireless technologies are also presented. The course concludes with the development of a comprehensive proposal applying unmanned aircraft technology to solve a challenging technological problem in a selected industry. It is vital for computer scientists to understand aerodynamics and aircraft structures in order to safely and reliably program unmanned aircraft of all sizes to function in the national airspace. This course will help computer scientists understand how a drone works so that they can safely develop programs, algorithms, and security for them.