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Conference Paper
Schmittle, Matt, Lukina, Anna, Vacek, Lukas, Das, Jnaneshwar, Buskirk, Christopher P., Rees, Stephen, Sztipanovits, Janos, Grosu, Radu, Kumar, Vijay.  2018.  OpenUAV: A UAV Testbed for the CPS and Robotics Community. Proceedings of the 9th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems. :130–139.

Multirotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have grown in popularity for research and education, overcoming challenges associated with fixed wing and ground robots. Unfortunately, extensive physical testing can be expensive and time consuming because of short flight times due to battery constraints and safety precautions. Simulation tools offer a low barrier to entry and enable testing and validation before field trials. However, most of the well-known simulators today have a high barrier to entry due to the need for powerful computers and the time required for initial set up. In this paper, we present OpenUAV, an open source test bed for UAV education and research that overcomes these barriers. We leverage the Containers as a Service (CaaS) technology to enable students and researchers carry out simulations on the cloud. We have based our framework on open-source tools including ROS, Gazebo, Docker, PX4, and Ansible, we designed the simulation framework so that it has no special hardware requirements. Two use-cases are presented. First, we show how a UAV can navigate around obstacles, and second, we test a multi-UAV swarm formation algorithm. To our knowledge, this is the first open-source, cloud-enabled testbed for UAVs. The code is available on GitHub: