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Velocity field path-planning for single and multiple unmanned ariel vehicles

McInnes, C.R. (2003) Velocity field path-planning for single and multiple unmanned ariel vehicles. Aeronautical Journal, 107 (1073). pp. 419-426. ISSN 0001-9240

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Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have seen a rapid growth in utilisation for reconnaissance, mostly using single UAVs. However, future utilisation of UAVs for applications such as bistatic synthetic aperture radar and stereoscopic imaging, will require the use of multiple UAVs acting cooperatively to achieve mission goals. In addition, to de-skill the operation of UAVs for certain applications will require the migration of path-planning functions from the ground to the UAV. This paper details a computationally efficient algorithm to enable path-planning for single UAVs and to form and re-form UAV formations with active collision avoidance. The algorithm presented extends classical potential field methods used in other domains for the UAV path-planning problem. It is demonstrated that a range of tasks can be executed autonomously, allowing high level tasking of single and multiple UAVs in formation, with the formation commanded as a single entity.