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Towards a Unified Framework for UAS Autonomy and Technology Readiness Assessment (ATRA)

Farid Kendoul


As the number of programs for developing autonomous Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) accelerates, there is a growing need for a comprehensive framework that allows UAS practitioners, particularly researchers, to characterize, compare and assess the UAS autonomy technologies from the perspectives of their capabilities and maturity. In this paper, we propose the Autonomy and Technology Readiness Assessment (ATRA) framework that provides definitions and metrics to systematically evaluate the autonomy level of a UAS and to correctly measure the maturity of its autonomy enabling technologies. The ATRA framework combines both Autonomy Level (AL) and Technology Readiness Level (TRL) metrics to provide a comprehensive picture of how the UAS would behave in realistic operational environment, and its suitability for a particular application. An example of ATRA’s application to the CSIRO autonomous helicopter will be shown. This is still an ongoing research, and once the framework is further populated and completed, it can serve as a common reference for the UAS research community and provide a framework in which to evaluate the existing autonomy technologies, view how they relate to each other, and make qualitative and quantitative comparisons.

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