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  • Christopher Dinelli, James Montoya, and Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian

GPS-Denied Multi-Agent UAV DeliveryMethod: UGV-Mounted “Smart Box” forHazardous Underground Environments &GPS Denied Spaces

Christopher Dinelli, James Montoya, and Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico, 87801, United States


Funded by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the team objective is to design, manufacture, and optimize a semi-autonomous hybrid vehicle consisting of a multi-agent cooperative robotic team to provide mine emergency teams with vital data during their missions. The overall system will be capable of exploring, navigating, and mapping underground mines. This requires the system to operate efficiently during mining emergencies. The cooperative robotic system should be capable of accomplishing mission objectives autonomously, and should be able to relay vital information about the mine conditions during an emergency. Currently under development, the multipart hybrid-drone system consists of a single unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and an internally housed and deployable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This configuration is referred to as a UAV-UGV hybrid. The proposed mission is aimed at deploying an aerial drone from an internally nested position within a Smart Box, which is mounted atop the UGV platform. This aerial drone will be deployed when the UGV meets an impassable obstacle during the

mission. A current prototyped version of the smart box has been developed by New Mexico Tech, and is capable of housing and externally deploying an aerial drone from within the box’s exterior shell. The current version of the exterior shell was designed, manufactured, and is currently being optimized to mitigate the effects of flames, external heat sources, dust, water, pressure waves, and other hazardous elements. The shell is designed to be durable and rugged in order to protect the internally nested UAV during UGV transit. The shell is also designed to be transformable, and an internal hatch mechanism (sliding hatch) is capable of sliding out and allowing the UAV to perform vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) from an unobstructed location outside of the shell during the deployment and retrieval phases.


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