Formation control for UAVs using a Flux Guided approach

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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
Volume205
Early online date3 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Multi-agent motion planning
  • Formation encirclement
  • Artificial harmonic field
  • Electric flux

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