This paper addresses the problem of steering a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles along desired three-dimensional paths while meeting stringent spatial and temporal constraints. A representative example is the challenging mission scenario where the unmanned aerial vehicles are tasked to cooperatively execute collision-free maneuvers and arrive at their final destinations at the same time. In the proposed framework, the unmanned aerial vehicles are assigned nominal spatial paths and speed profiles along those, and then the vehicles are requested to execute cooperative path following, rather than open loop trajectory tracking maneuvers. This strategy yields robust behavior against external disturbances by allowing the unmanned aerial vehicles to negotiate their speeds along the paths in response to information exchanged over the supporting communications network. The paper considers the case where the graph that captures the underlying time-varying communications topology is disconnected during some interval of time or even fails to be connected at all times. Conditions are given under which the cooperative path-following closed-loop system is stable. Flight test results of a coordinated road-search mission demonstrate the efficacy of the multi-vehicle cooperative control framework developed in the paper.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Aerospace Engineering
- Space and Planetary Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Applied Mathematics