The control of networked multivehicle systems designed to perform complex coordinated tasks is currently an important and challenging field of research. This paper addresses a cooperative search problem where a team of uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) seeks to find targets of interest in an uncertain environment. We present a practical framework for online planning and control of a group of UAVs for cooperative search based on two interdependent tasks: (i) incrementally updating “cognitive maps” used as the representation of the environment through new sensor readings; (ii) continuously planning the path for each vehicle based on the information obtained through the search. We formulate the cooperative search problem and develop a decentralized strategy based on an opportunistic cooperative learning method, where the emergent coordination among vehicles is enabled by letting each vehicle consider other vehicles’ actions in its path planning procedure. By using the developed strategy, physically feasible paths for the vehicles to follow are generated, where constraints on aerial vehicles, including physical maneuverabilities, are considered and the dynamic nature of the environment is taken into account. We also present some mathematical analysis of the developed search strategy. Our analysis shows that this strategy guarantees a complete search of the environment and is robust to a partial loss of UAVs. A lower bound on the search time for any strategy and a relaxed upper bound for the proposed strategy are given. Simulation results are used to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed strategy.
Multi-UAV Cooperative Search Using an Opportunistic Learning Method
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Yang, Y., Polycarpou, M. M., and Minai, A. A. (January 10, 2007). "Multi-UAV Cooperative Search Using an Opportunistic Learning Method." ASME. J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control. September 2007; 129(5): 716–728. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2764515
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