Autonomous three-dimensional formation flight for a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles

Derek James Bennet, Colin McInnes, Masayuki Suzuki, Kenji Uchiyama

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Abstract

This paper investigates the development of a new guidance algorithm for a formation of unmanned aerial vehicles. Using the new approach of bifurcating potential fields, it is shown that a formation of unmanned aerial vehicles can be
successfully controlled such that verifiable autonomous patterns are achieved, with a simple parameter switch allowing for transitions between patterns. The key contribution that this paper presents is in the development of a new bounded bifurcating potential field that avoids saturating the vehicle actuators, which is essential for real or safety-critical applications. To demonstrate this, a guidance and control method is developed, based on a six-degreeof-freedom linearized aircraft model, showing that, in simulation, three-dimensional formation flight for a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles can be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1899-1908
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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Keywords

  • formation flying
  • swarm robotics
  • bifurcating potential fields
  • unmanned aerial vehicles
  • autonomous patterns

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