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Roy Godzdanker successfully completes Ph.D. defense.

Roy Godzdanker successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation, entitled "AN INTEGRATED PLATFORM TO INCREASE THE RANGE/ENDURANCE OF UNMANNED HELICOPTERS." Abstract follows:

Class I (<150 kg) autonomous helicopters are becoming increasingly popular for a wide range of non-military applications such as, surveillance, reconnaissance, traffic monitoring, emergency response, agricultural spraying, and many other “eye in the sky” missions. However, an efficient refueling/recharging system has not yet been developed to increase the flight time and decrease the cost for Class I helicopters. This dissertation presents a three-prong approach for increasing the endurance of Class I autonomous helicopter which will then spur demand by non-military organizations wanting to take advantage of these systems capabilities and therefore drop their price. The Intelligent Self-Leveling and Nodal Docking System (ISLANDS) is developed as a mobile refueling/recharging station, which is one part of a three-pronged approach proposed. ISLANDS is an electro-mechanical system that provides a safe landing surface for helicopters on gradients of up to 60%. ISLANDS operates “off the grid” and therefore must provide its own energy sources for the refueling/recharging tasks it performs. A method for determining ISLANDS’ energy needs for refueling/recharging an arbitrary number of gas and/or electric helicopters for an arbitrary number of days is provided as the second part of the three-pronged approach. The final step for increasing autonomous helicopter endurance is a way of determining placement of ISLANDS nodes in the area to be serviced that ensures the helicopters can achieve their goals.