Application of Dempster–Shafer Networks to a Real-Time Unmanned Systems Risk Analysis Framework

Joel Dunham, Eric Johnson, Eric Feron, Brian German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) are continuing to proliferate. Quantitative risk assessment for UAS operations, both a priori and during the operation, are necessary for governing authorities and insurance companies to understand the risks and properly approve operations and assign insurance premiums, respectively. In this paper, the problem of UAS risk analysis and decision making is treated through a novel application of Dempster–Shafer (DS) networks using auto-updating transition matrices. This method was motivated by the results of the 2018 UAS Safety Symposium held at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which was conducted as part of the research detailed in this paper. The paper describes training a DS network based on simulated operation data, testing the capabilities of the trained network to make real-time decisions on a small UAS against a baseline system in a representative mission, and exploring how this system would extend to a more inclusive UAS ecosystem. Conclusions are drawn with respect to the research performed, and additional research directions are proposed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aerospace Information Systems
StatePublished - May 7 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-05-10
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the following people for participating in the 2018 UAS Safety Symposium at Georgia Tech since that
effort provided much of the driver for this research: Roy Burke, Julianna Burke, Anthony Mormino, Eric Richey, Chris Proudlove, Naira Hovakimyan, Jeong Jur, Greg Ourada, and Michael Miller. The authors are also thankful to Olivia Jagiella-Lodise and Philippe Monmousseau for their contributions in editing and formatting this paper.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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