Tight formation flying and sphere packing

Yoonsoo Kim, Da-Wei Gu, Ian Postlethwaite

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper, we introduce a method for finding a tight formation of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) via the classical sphere packing scheme. We first translate the tight formation finding problem to the problem of maximizing the second smallest eigenvalue lambda2(G) of the graph Laplacian LG. We then show how close the formation Gs obtained from the sphere packing scheme is to the optimal formation G* that maximizes lambda2(G). We show that lambda2(G*)/lambda2(Gs) is relatively small when the communication strength between two UAVs decays slowly with the distance between the two UAVs. This result implies that Gs can serve as a certificate that allows every graph to be quantitatively compared to G*. In the light of this tight formation result, a modelling technique is given for the optimal airborne refuelling of multiple UAVs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2007 American Control Conference
    Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
    ISBN (Print)978-1424409884
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventAmerican Control Conference - New York, USA
    Duration: 1 Jan 2007 → …


    ConferenceAmerican Control Conference
    Period1/01/07 → …


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