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Electronics 2017, 6(2), 31; doi:10.3390/electronics6020031

Using Competition to Control Congestion in Autonomous Drone Systems

Complex Systems Initiative, Physics Department, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sergio Montenegro
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 4 April 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 12 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Systems/Vehicles (UAS/V) and Drones)
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Abstract

With the number and variety of commercial drones and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) set to escalate, there will be high future demands on popular regions of airspace and communication bandwidths. This raises safety concerns and hence heightens the need for a generic quantitative understanding of the real-time dynamics of multi-drone populations. Here, we explain how a simple system design built around system-level competition, as opposed to cooperation, can be used to control and ultimately reduce the fluctuations that ordinarily arise in such congestion situations, while simultaneously keeping the on-board processing requirements minimal. These benefits naturally arise from the collective competition to choose the less crowded option, using only previous outcomes and built-in algorithms. We provide explicit closed-form formulae that are applicable to any number of airborne drones N, and which show that the necessary on-board processing increases slower than N as N increases. This design therefore offers operational advantages over traditional cooperative schemes that require drone-to-drone communications that scale like N 2 , and also over optimization and control schemes that do not easily scale up to general N. In addition to populations of drones, the same mathematical analysis can be used to describe more complex individual drones that feature N adaptive sensor/actuator units. View Full-Text
Keywords: complex systems; competition; modeling; dynamics complex systems; competition; modeling; dynamics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Manrique, P.D.; Johnson, D.D.; Johnson, N.F. Using Competition to Control Congestion in Autonomous Drone Systems. Electronics 2017, 6, 31.

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