Computational Modelling Group

Generic Operational Simulation of Civil Unmanned Air Vehicle Operations

1st May 2011
Hans Fangohr, James Scanlan

Civil missions intended to be used.

Current aerospace design processes largely neglect operational aspects during the early design phase. This can lead to sub-optimal products that are struggling in their operational environment. This research creats a tool for designers of civil Unmanned-Air-Vehicles (UAVs) that allows better understanding of a design in various mission scenarios. The aim is to combine operational outputs with value calculations to show comprehensible, comparable and tracable benchmarks of specific designs conducting specified missions. Designers will be able early on to test design ideas in their intended operational environments and get feedback on product performance. The simulation model will include a wide array of civil UAV missions, combined internally by a unifying ontology that can map any one mission into any other. Included scenarios include:

  • Land management
  • Broadcasting
  • Traffic monitoring
  • Pipe line monitoring
  • Mapping
  • Patrolling
  • Search-and-Rescue
  • Fire detection
  • and more

An initial project covered the operational simulation of Search-and-Rescue missions (see It helped to design a real UAV designed by the DECODE-team ( revealing unexpected results regarding design decisions.


Physical Systems and Engineering simulation: Flight simulation

Socio-technological System simulation: Transport, Value-driven design

Algorithms and computational methods: Agents, Geographic Information Systems

Simulation software: AnyLogic

Visualisation and data handling software: ArcGIS

Software Engineering Tools: Eclipse

Programming languages and libraries: Java

Computational platforms: Windows

Transdisciplinary tags: Complex Systems, Computer Science, Design, Software Engineering