Formation control for UAVs using a Flux Guided approach

John Hartley, Hubert P.H. Shum*, Edmond S.L. Ho, He Wang, Subramanian Ramamoorthy

*Corresponding author for this work

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Existing studies on formation control for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have not considered encircling targets where an optimum coverage of the target is required at all times. Such coverage plays a critical role in many real-world applications such as tracking hostile UAVs. This paper proposes a new path planning approach called the Flux Guided (FG) method, which generates collision-free trajectories for multiple UAVs while maximising the coverage of target(s). Our method enables UAVs to track directly toward a target whilst maintaining maximum coverage. Furthermore, multiple scattered targets can be tracked by scaling the formation during flight. FG is highly scalable since it only requires communication between sub-set of UAVs on the open boundary of the formation's surface. Experimental results further validate that FG generates UAV trajectories 1.5× shorter than previous work and that trajectory planning for 9 leader/follower UAVs to surround a target in two different scenarios only requires 0.52 s and 0.88 s, respectively. The resulting trajectories are suitable for robotic controls after time-optimal parameterisation; we demonstrate this using a 3d dynamic particle system that tracks the desired trajectories using a PID controller.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117665
Number of pages11
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
Early online date3 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


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