Control Theory and Technology

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 13–23 | Cite as

Precedence-constrained path planning of messenger UAV for air-ground coordination

  • Yulong Ding
  • Bin XinEmail author
  • Jie Chen


This paper addresses an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) path planning problem for a team of cooperating heterogeneous vehicles composed of one UAV and multiple unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). The UGVs are used as mobile actuators and scattered in a large area. To achieve multi-UGV communication and collaboration, the UAV serves as a messenger to fly over all task points to collect the task information and then flies all UGVs to transmit the information about tasks and UGVs. The path planning of messenger UAV is formulated as a precedence-constrained dynamic Dubins traveling salesman problem with neighborhood (PDDTSPN). The goal of this problem is to find the shortest route enabling the UAV to fly over all task points and deliver information to all requested UGVs. When solving this path planning problem, a decoupling strategy is proposed to sequentially and rapidly determine the access sequence in which the UAV visits task points and UGVs as well as the access location of UAV in the communication neighborhood of each task point and each UGV. The effectiveness of the proposed approach is corroborated through computational experiments on randomly generated instances. The computational results on both small and large instances demonstrate that the proposed approach can generate high-quality solutions in a reasonable time as compared with two other heuristic algorithms.


Air-ground coordination curvature-constrained path planning precedence constraints Dubins traveling salesman problem 


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Copyright information

© Editorial Board of Control Theory & Applications, South China University of Technology and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of AutomationBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Intelligent Control and Decision of Complex SystemsBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  3. 3.Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Intelligent Robots and SystemsBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina

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