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LADDCS group wins 2019 AIAA Sensor System and Information Fusion Best Paper

Kumar and Soderlund with their awardKumar and Soderlund with their award.A group of Ohio State researchers from the Laboratory for Autonomy in Data-Driven and Complex Systems won the 2019 AIAA Sensor System and Information Fusion Best Paper from the 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum and Exposition.

Mrinal Kumar, director at Laboratory for Autonomy in Data-Driven and Complex Systems (LADDCS), Alex Soderlund, a researcher at LADDCS and senior Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State, and Chao Yang, a former post-doctoral researcher at LADDCS, presented the paper at SciTech Forum and Exposition in San Diego on Jan 7-11, 2019.

Overheard shot of a controlled burn from aerial drone. Overheard shot of a controlled burn from aerial drone. (Provided by Soderlund)The paper is about estimating the spread of wildfires in real time. The overall objective of the research is to perform fusion of data from potentially conflicting sensors and forecasting agents to generate a meaningful representation of where the fire currently is and where it is going next.

The group reached their objectives by using a combination of forecasting, based on probabilistic environmental conditions, and sensing, using in-field temperature sensors and mobile aerial drones with vision and infra-red cameras, Soderlund said.

All of the work in the paper is simulation, but the group has recently begun a collaboration with Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources and have taken data during a recent prescribed burn in Marion, Ohio.

They will practically test their research again for a prescribed burn in Coshocton, Ohio.

Simulation of predicted path of wildfire.Simulation of predicted path of wildfire. (Provided by Soderlund)

This research is part of Soderlund’s dissertation work and he is happy to see that a crucial piece is highly regarded.

“It is very gratifying. Graduate-level research is often difficult and an immense amount of hours are spent on the exploration and execution of ideas,” Soderlund said. “Because rejection is commonplace, it is very validating when one’s work is accepted and in this case given an award.”

The award was presented at the AIAA SciTech Excellence in Aerospace Luncheon on Jan 9, 2020.

In-field sensor at burn.In-field sensor at burn. (Provided by Soderlund)Aerial drone out in field.Aerial drone out in the field. (Provided by Soderlund)






Jake Rahe, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering