Research Interests

  • Guidance and Control of Autonomous Vehicles

  • Collision and Obstacle Avoidance, and Path Planning of UAVs

  • Cooperative Pursuit and Evasion

  • Cooperative Control of Multi-Agent Systems

  • Attitude Control and Attitude Synchronization of Spacecrafts

A summary of research activities being carried out in our group can be viewed here.

Ongoing Projects

Three-Dimensional Navigation of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

  • PI: Dr. Leena Vachhani

  • Co-PI: Shashi Ranjan Kumar

  • Funding Agency: Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), Defence Research and Development Organisation, India

  • Duration: 2023 - 2025

This project is about 3D navigation of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). Autonomous underwater vehicles deployed to assist oil rigs or monitor underwater cabling may differ in the application domain and the environment in which they work. The AUVs are also deployed to track marine life and underwater explorations. Each application of AUV has to address a navigation task that involves moving the AUV from a source location to a target location. The navigation task is typically performed by describing a path between source and intermediate goal locations called waypoints. Depending on the application requirement and AUV design constraints, the waypoint navigation classifies under position or posture stabilization in control terminology. Posture/point stabilization refers to driving the complete state to attain the desired configuration, while position stabilization only concerns stabilizing the robot's position to a target location. Position stabilization is a special case of autonomous navigation, which requires the robot to know either the exact goal coordinates or relative range and bearing measurements towards the goal location to perform the task. In robotics literature, position stabilization is referred to as homing particularly when the onboard sensors do not give direct information on coordinates or relative bearing/range measurements. This project aims to develop a 3D motion planner for the autonomous navigation of underwater vehicles. The output of the planning module would be optimal, feasible reference trajectory to reach the goal point with online obstacle avoidance. Obstacles can be static as well as dynamic in nature. This project also ivolves generation of the required environment map from SONAR data (range, bearing, and track). The validation of propsoed designs will be done using a simulation environment and on an underwater test platform.

Capacity Building for Human Resource Development in Unmanned Aircraft System (Drone and related Technology): Guidance, Navigation, and Control Algorithms and Simulations

Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) encompasses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as Drone, includes related technologies such as ground control stations, data links, and other support equipment. The technology has the potential for greater reach with better work productivity and relatively lower cost through diverse operational and physical characteristics involving operating range, payload, operational altitude, take-off weight, endurance or flight duration, command & control, etc. The primary objective of the programme is to leverage collaborative activities in human resource development through capacity building in education and training in the area of UAS. The programme is conceived to achieve the following broad objectives: To enhance capacity & capabilities of select institutions in identified work themes on unmanned aircraft systems. To institutionalize a collaborative ecosystem for synergy of capabilities & expertise. To foster the development of competent human resources at various levels, including Post Graduate & Graduate programs, PG Diploma/Certificate programs, Faculty Updation, and Master Trainers in niche areas of UAS. To promote an entrepreneurial mindset and nurture technical talent among the student community through innovative interventions such as Bootcamps and Proof-of Concepts. To nurture technical talent and ideation among the student community through IPR generation, Competitions, Workshops / Conferences, etc. The project has conceptualized to leverage and augment the capacity and capability of academic and related institutions through a unique collaborative framework. The programme is being framed to further strengthen the identified institutes with a mission to create quality human resources which contribute skilled professionals and workforce to the UAS industry.

Multi-Vehicular Cooperative Pursuit and Evasion Guidance Strategies: Multi-Agent Perspective

  • PI: Shashi Ranjan Kumar

  • Co PI: Dr. Dwaipayan Mukherjee

  • Funding Agency: Aeronautics Research and Development Board (AR&DB)

  • Duration: 2022 - 2024

This project will investigate multi-vehicle engagements, such as cooperative aircraft-defense against multiple adversaries, and propose cooperative pursuit and evasion guidance strategies, by harnessing the analysis tools from multi-agent systems, nonlinear systems, and cooperative control. The past decade has witnessed substantial advancements in the area of guidance and control of aerial vehicle. Sophisticated interceptors pose a serious threat to the survival of civilian, as well as, military vehicles. Consequently, significant efforts had been devoted towards extending the protection capabilities of the targeted vehicle, which may respond to the incoming threat by performing evasive maneuvers, such as deploying electronic countermeasures, flares, and decoys. While the aforementioned survival tactics employed by the targeted vehicle are passive, an active protection strategy would involve launching a defending interceptor or a team of interceptors, having capabilities comparable to that of the incoming threat, against the adversary. This is a useful requirement, particularly in the scenarios when the targeted vehicle has some constraints on its route, or is carrying a load, such as goods or people, heading for search and rescue, etc. The resulting three-player engagement scenarios are different from the traditional one-to-one engagements, and present a formidable challenge in the design of defense strategy, as the evader-defender team may use different levels of cooperation to neutralize the threats. Therefore, in this multi-vehicle pursuit-evasion scenario, while the targeted vehicle attempts to throw the pursuer off its trail through evasive maneuvers, the team of defenders it deploys try to pursue the attacker (incoming threat) and neutralize the threat posed by it. The evader cooperates with its defenders to ensure interception of the pursuer by the defender before the pursuer can capture the evader. In this scenario, the evader and the defender are a cooperating team, while the pursuer is the adversary. From the perspective of the defender-evader team (which attempts to not only ensure evasion by the evader but also capture of pursuer by the defender), the design of suitable strategies for the adversaries is a challenging problem even from a geometric formulation of the problem. From the point of view of safety applications, safeguarding one’s own aircraft from attacks by pursuing interceptors is important, just as intercepting an enemy’s interceptor is a primary goal. This project, therefore, focuses on the former under the unifying umbrella of active aircraft defense, which involves both pursuit (by defenders) and evasion (by targeted aircraft) strategies.

Fault Tolerance Control System for Gas Turbine Engine

  • PI: Dr. Arnab Maity

  • Co PI: Shashi Ranjan Kumar

  • Co PI: Dr. PSV Nataraj

  • Funding Agency: Centre of Propulsion Technology in association with Gas Turbine Research Establishment, Defence Research and Development Organisation

  • Duration: 2020 - 2023

Gas turbine engine is a key component for aerial vehicles. The performance of engine plays a vital role in the success of mission. The project aims to design an integrated robust fault diagnosis and isolation (FDI), and fault-tolerant control (FTC) system for gas turbine/jet engine in different fault scenarios. The main objective of fault-tolerant control is to maintain the specified performance of a system in the presence of faults. With the increasing demand on reliability and safety in gas turbine/jet engines, which are prone to components faults and operational abnormalities, it is extremely important to detect and diagnose potential faults and abnormalities as early as possible, and implement fault-tolerant control to minimize performance degradation and avoid dangerous accidents. Advanced FTC schemes are required to ensure efficient and reliable operation of complex technological systems. Fault detection and isolation forms a vital part of any integrated active fault-tolerant system. The development of mathematical models of engine, actuators, and sensors will be required for designing FDD and FTC system design. The model development is proposed to be done using system identification and/or computational techniques.

Completed Projects

Hardware Implementation and Validation of Swarming Algorithm

  • PI: Shashi Ranjan Kumar

  • Co PI: Dr. Leena Vachhani

  • Funding Agency: Larsen and Toubro (L&T)

  • Duration: 2022 - 2023

A swarm of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a collection of aerial robots working together to achieve a common goal. These systems have immense potential to expand the mission domain of UAV systems by delivering better resilience and adaptability at a lower cost than monolithic systems. With developments in miniature UAVs, the problem of flocking has gained significant interest in both academia and industry, with applications in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), electronic warfare (EW), and communication missions. The goal of the project is to design and validate flocking control laws for fixed-wing multiple agents and demonstrate their performance on robustness on appropriate hardware test beds. The final goal is to demonstrate the efficacy of the developed control laws on fixed-wing agents and extensively validate them over various mission profiles.

Development of Flight Guidance and Control System of Aerial Vehicles for Path Following

  • PI: Shashi Ranjan Kumar

  • Funding Agency: IRCC, IIT Bombay

  • Duration: Sept 2017 - Jan 2023

Guidance system acts as the brain of aerospace vehicles, and success of mission relies heavily on the performance of guidance system. In the early days, achieving target interception with zero miss distance has been the primary focus of guidance design for many years. In recent days, optimizing energy usage and achieving terminal constraints are some of the additional constraints, which are of paramount improtance. Terminal constaints such as impact angle increases the warhead effectivenss while the impact time helps in saturating the target defense system and thus increasing the survivability of interceptor. This project focuses on designing guidance and control of autonomous aerial vehicles for acheiving terminal as well as in-flight constraints. The terminal constraints include target interception at a particular impact time or interception from a pre-sepcified orientation, while the in-flight constraints accounts for field-of-view (FOV) constraints which helps to keep the target in view during engagement. This project aims to design both two-loop as well as integrated design of guidance and control to achieve the objectives. Guidance design must account for the variations in vehicle dynamics subject to the thrust and aerodynamic parameter variations. Owing to the nature of engagement duration, the developed guidance strategies should respect the finite time convergence of controlled variables.

Cooperative Nonlinear Guidance Strategies for Simultaneous Interception with Finite-Time Convergence

  • PI: Shashi Ranjan Kumar

  • Funding Agency: Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India

  • Duration: Dec 2019 - Dec 2021

This project is about the design of cooperative guidance strategy for several vehicles to achieve simultaneous interception of the target. Modern targets are becoming technologically advanced which imposes several challenges for vehicles to complete their mission. Simultaneous interception by weaker adversaries against a stronger one are effective. This project aims to design cooperative salvo guidance strategy using finite and fixed-time consensus in coordination variables. This project will also attempt to develop cooperative salvo guidance, against various targets, at a time either pre-specified or decided online. Guidance philosophy would be based merging the concepts of consensus in multi-agent systems and nonlinear control techniques to cater for the communication capability of vehicles, along with the robustness against the erroneous measurements/estimation of data and uncertainties.