Software-in-the-loop simulation of the forerunner UAV system
The forerunner UAV means a camera equipped drone flying in front of the advancing first responder units to increase driver situational awareness with an aerial view of the traffic situation and notification about imminent dangers. This article presents the software-in-the-loop (SIL) simulation of the concept including UNREAL4-Carla as the virtual reality environment with a firetruck driven through a game controller, the Matlab simulation of the DJI M600 forerunner hexacopter with UDP communication between firetruck and M600 and the real-time AI processing of synthetic images to detect ground vehicles and pedestrians. The target of SIL development is threefold. First, to test M600 autopilot and AI-based object detection in close to realistic conditions before the real flights. Second, to make an exhaustive feasibility study of the whole forerunner concept with several simulated situations. Third, to generate the required large amount of image data for AI object detection tuning. After introducing all parts of the SIL simulation the article presents an illustrative example evaluating the tracking of the ground vehicle with the M600 and the inference system results.