Data assimilation and optimal control in the context of UAV-based flash flood monitoring


Flash floods are one of the most common natural disasters worldwide, causing thousands of casualties every year. The emergence of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) gives the possibility to monitor these events over large geographical areas. In this talk, we focus on the problem of trajectory planning for a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles sensing flooding conditions. We first use deep-learning to efficiently approximate the flood evolution over time, given external inputs. We then formulate the problem of maximizing the information gained over a finite time horizon, and solve it to determine optimal UAV trajectories. Simulation results show that this approach greatly reduces uncertainty, while being tractable in near real-time on a regular desktop computer.

Brief Biography

Christian Claudel is an Assistant Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at UT-Austin. He received the PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from UC-Berkeley in 2010, and the MS degree in Plasma Physics from Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon in 2004. He received the Leon Chua Award from UC-Berkeley in 2010 for his work on the Mobile Millennium traffic monitoring system. His research interests include control and estimation of distributed parameter systems, wireless sensor networks and unmanned aerial vehicles.