Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Natalia A. Schmid.


Over the past several years, the military has grown increasingly reliant upon the use of unattended aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance missions. There is an increasing trend towards fielding swarms of UAVs operating as large-scale sensor networks in the air [1]. Such systems tend to be used primarily for the purpose of acquiring sensory data with the goal of automatic detection, identification, and tracking objects of interest. These trends have been paralleled by advances in both distributed detection [2], image/signal processing and data fusion techniques [3]. Furthermore, swarmed UAV systems must operate under severe constraints on environmental conditions and sensor limitations. In this work, we investigate the effects of environmental conditions on target detection performance in a UAV network. We assume that each UAV is equipped with an optical camera, and use a realistic computer simulation to generate synthetic images. The automatic target detector is a cascade of classifiers based on Haar-like features. The detector's performance is evaluated using simulated images that closely mimic data acquired in a UAV network under realistic camera and environmental conditions. In order to improve automatic target detection (ATD) performance in a swarmed UAV system, we propose and design several fusion techniques both at the image and score level and analyze both the case of a single observation and the case of multiple observations of the same target.