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Coordinated flight control of miniature fixed-wing UAV swarms: methods and experiments

Abstract

In this paper, we present our recent advances in both theoretical methods and field experiments for the coordinated control of miniature fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) swarms. We propose a multi-layered group-based architecture, which is modularized, mission-oriented, and can implement large-scale swarms. To accomplish the desired coordinated formation flight, we present a novel distributed coordinated-control scheme comprising a consensus-based circling rendezvous, a coordinated path-following control for the leader UAVs, and a leader-follower coordinated control for the follower UAVs. The current framework embeds a formation pattern reconfiguration technique. Moreover, we discuss two security solutions (inter-UAV collision avoidance and obstacle avoidance) in the swarm flight problem. The effectiveness of the proposed coordinated control methods was demonstrated in field experiments by deploying up to 21 fixed-wing UAVs.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partly supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61801494), and Joint Fund of Ministry of Education of China for Equipment Pre-research and Beijing Nova Program (Grant No. 2018047). The authors express their deepest gratitude to the SWARM TEAM of the NUDT. Without their hard work, the flight experiments could not be done.

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Correspondence to Lincheng Shen.

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Cite this article

Wang, X., Shen, L., Liu, Z. et al. Coordinated flight control of miniature fixed-wing UAV swarms: methods and experiments. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 62, 212204 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-018-9887-5

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Keywords

  • unmanned aerial vehicle
  • cooperative control
  • formation control
  • distributed control
  • multiagent system