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 $1.5 \times$ 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 seconds and 0.88 seconds, 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.
- Pub Date:
- March 2021
- Computer Science - Robotics;
- Computer Science - Multiagent Systems;
- Electrical Engineering and Systems Science - Systems and Control
- 37 pages, 9 figures, 3 table