Mission Planning for Multiple UAVs in a Wind Field with Flight Time Constraints

Abstract

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has become common in a wide range of applications due to their agility and maneuverability. UAV mission planning is a challenging task, especially when dealing with multiple UAVs. In this paper, we consider a typical mission planning problem in which a fleet of UAVs must visit a set of fixed waypoints. Each waypoint has an associated reward that represents its relative importance. The problem consists in assigning a UAV to each waypoint, considering that each UAV has a flight time constraint. Also, we propose a model to solve the mission planning problem for multiple UAVs in the presence of a wind field. The goal is to maximize the total reward collected and minimize total flight time. Numerical experiments are carried out to illustrate the application of the proposed model in different instances of the multiple UAV mission planning problem. The results show that, when wind field is not taken into account, the error in the estimated total flight time required for the UAVs to complete their missions is about 13%. Also, if UAVs have flight time constraints, neglecting the wind field may cause the loss of some UAVs. The solutions provided by the proposed model allow the UAVs to complete their missions and return to the base safely.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the support of the São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP (Grant 2011/17610-0) and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development—CNPq (Grants 423023/2018-7, 305048/2016-3, 303714/2014-0 and 303393/2018-1). This study was also financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001 (PNPD Postdoctoral Grant).

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Correspondence to Vandilberto P. Pinto.

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Pinto, V.P., Galvão, R.K.H., Rodrigues, L.R. et al. Mission Planning for Multiple UAVs in a Wind Field with Flight Time Constraints. J Control Autom Electr Syst 31, 959–969 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40313-020-00609-5

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Keywords

  • Mission planning
  • Multiple UAVs
  • Wind field
  • Optimization
  • ILP
  • Flight time constraints