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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

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Autonomous three-dimensional formation flight for a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles

Bennet, Derek James and McInnes, Colin and Suzuki, Masayuki and Uchiyama, Kenji (2011) Autonomous three-dimensional formation flight for a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles. Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, 34 (6). pp. 1899-1908. ISSN 0731-5090

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Abstract

This paper investigates the development of a new guidance algorithm for a formation of unmanned aerial vehicles. Using the new approach of bifurcating potential fields, it is shown that a formation of unmanned aerial vehicles can be successfully controlled such that verifiable autonomous patterns are achieved, with a simple parameter switch allowing for transitions between patterns. The key contribution that this paper presents is in the development of a new bounded bifurcating potential field that avoids saturating the vehicle actuators, which is essential for real or safety-critical applications. To demonstrate this, a guidance and control method is developed, based on a six-degreeof-freedom linearized aircraft model, showing that, in simulation, three-dimensional formation flight for a swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles can be achieved.