Affiliations: Computational and Engineering Design Group, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Note:  Corresponding author: Amrith Surendra, EngD, Computational and Engineering Design Group, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: The Decision Environment for Complex Designs (DECODE) project at the University of Southampton aims to provide a multidisciplinary environment to support and improve design decisions in order to maximize long term product value. This approach involves the analysis of the overall product life-cycle, from conceptual design to the end of its service life. This paper discusses the issues faced and the limitations of the DECODE framework in the design, search and optimisation of multiple UAV configurations. The fundamental issue lies in the calculation of value metric, which indicates the ‘goodness’ of the system. The value metric used is based on Net-Present-Value (NPV) where a monetary value is assigned to mission success. In the case of search and rescue operations it is the value of saving a human life. This paper also explores the possible solutions to increase the flexibility of the DECODE design tool. Central to the DECODE design process is the concept design tool which was developed from basic principles and augmented with empirical data coming from previous UAVs designs. This however, limits the assessment of various UAV configurations as the runtime for each configuration is significant which makes the evaluation of multiple UAV systems infeasible. A more rapid assessment methodology is proposed: this involves a Knowledge-based Framework (KBF) that allows the user to explore various UAV configurations and down select from them using requirements. This framework is based on an aircraft domain ontology and logic inference, which utilizes semantic-web-tools and an organized flow of information that ensures clarity in the decisions made.
Keywords: Value-Driven Design, UAV, knowledge based engineering