The Brigham Young University Multiple AGent Intelligent Coordination and Control Lab, also known as the MAGICC Lab, is a lab that focuses on research involving the control of autonomous vehicles, primarily Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The lab was founded by professors Randy Beard and Timothy McLain in 1999 and is located in the Fletcher Building.
Coordinated control of multiple vehicle systems has become an active research area in recent years. The motivation for multiple vehicle systems is to achieve the same gains for mechanically controlled systems as has been gained in distributed computation. Rather than having a single monolithic (and therefore expensive and complicated) machine do everything, the hope is that many inexpensive, simple machines, can achieve the same, or enhanced functionality, through coordination. In essence, the objective is to replace expensive complicated hardware with software.
There are numerous applications for multiple vehicle systems including space-based interferometry, future autonomous combat systems, autonomous household items, enhanced surveillance, hazardous material handling, and active reconfigurable sensing.
The BYU MAGICC laboratory has two primary research objectives.
- Develop innovative algorithms, architectures, and techniques for the coordination and control of multiple vehicles.
- Maintain a functioning testbed that allows many different algorithms and architectures to be implemented and tested for a variety of applications.
These objectives have previously been targeted towards ground robots, but now MAGICC's attention is towards UAVs and airborne coordination. Using an array of mini and micro UAVs, BYU is conducting innovative research in many control-related fields.
Research within the lab has necessitated the development of the Kestrel autopilot and the development of algorithms to extend the cooperative and autonomous capabilities of the platform. The Kestrel autopilot is licensed to and sold by Procerus Technologies which was acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2012.