Drones: Where Are We Now, Where Are We Headed?

Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 7:00pm
32-G449 (Kiva)
Shane Clark and Kyle Usbeck, Raytheon
Lecturer Photo

Drones: Where Are We Now, Where Are We Headed?
Shane Clark and Kyle Usbeck, Raytheon
Drones have become a fixture in the consumer electronics space, not only for hobbyists, but also for applications such as cinematography and agriculture. At the same time, they have become a cause for concern to privacy advocates, regulators, and military forces worldwide. The promise and risks of drones are often in the news, but the discussion generally fixates on drones as flying cameras or small payload carriers. This view undersells the significance of drones, which are already autonomous computers. Drones present a number of research and application opportunities and challenges, particularly considering their emerging networking and collaboration.

In this talk we will give an overview of the current state of inexpensive, off-the-shelf drone technology and consider some of those coming opportunities and challenges. We are currently conducting research addressing some of these problems including effective coordination, distributed tasking, and, privacy. Much of this work is integrated with a widely deployed tool that integrates drone tasking and situation awareness, allowing us to address practical logistical and operational issues. We will also talk about our efforts in fielding large numbers of drones. All of this research is part of the broader effort to transform these flying toys into swarms that can operate semi-autonomously far beyond a user's line of sight or direct control.

Dr. Shane Clark is a scientist in the Distributed Systems group at BBN Technologies. He serves as the Principal Investigator for projects in the areas of autonomous, secure, and resilient distributed systems. Dr. Clark holds a Doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Kyle Usbeck is a scientist and software engineer at BBN Technologies. There, he functions as the Principal Investigator for several projects conducting research and development on airborne networks, aggregate programming, and commercial off the shelf small unmanned aerial systems. Mr. Usbeck holds Masters of Science and Bachelors of Science degrees in Computer Science from Drexel University.

This joint meeting of the Boston Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM will be held in MIT Room 32-G449 (the Kiva conference room on the 4th floor of the Stata Center, buildng 32 on MIT maps) .