Demonstrating the Benefits of Cooperation for a UAV Team Performing Vision Based Feature Localisation

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This paper presents the results of a number of demonstrations which illustrate the performance benefit which can be gained through the cooperation of a team of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). A team of Brumby MkIII UAVs performed a mission which required estimating the location of a number of ground features given some prior information. The UAVs dynamically plan their paths sharing (1) feature state information obtained from observations made by onboard vision sensors and (2) information based utilities which allow for globally optimal action planning. Three demonstrations were performed with varying levels of cooperation. The results are compared for each case and it is shown how, by enabling cooperation through the sharing of utilities, large performance increases can be gained.