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)616-631
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aerospace Information Systems
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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