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Dispatching and loitering policies for unmanned aerial vehicles under dynamically arriving multiple priority targets


The dynamic nature and growing size of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems demands quick methods for effective task allocation, routing and positioning of UAVs in reaction to and in anticipation of arriving targets. The importance of targets, along with the timeliness of completing their tasks determines how effective a system is performing. Through simulation, this paper examines a system with multiple UAVs assigned to respond to fixed-location, multiple-priority targets. Dispatching rules and loitering strategies are implemented to insure rapid service for high-priority targets and effective management of medium-priority levels. The design of a study is discussed, for multiple dispatching rules and loitering strategy combinations under varying conditions of: region size, on-scene service rate, arrival rate, and target priority. The decision policy with the think-ahead and distance-based dispatching rules created the greatest benefit, when implemented with the loitering policy based on arrival location probabilities with continual consideration of busy UAV's future availability.

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This research has been funded through the Office of Naval Research under contract number N00173-08-C-4009. The authors greatly acknowledge this support. We thank the two anonymous reviewers whose comments were helpful in improving the presentation of this work.

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Correspondence to R Batta.

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Bednowitz, N., Batta, R. & Nagi, R. Dispatching and loitering policies for unmanned aerial vehicles under dynamically arriving multiple priority targets. J Simulation 8, 9–24 (2014).

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  • defense studies
  • military
  • unmanned aerial vehicles
  • vehicle routing