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Sensors 2018, 18(5), 1472; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18051472

A Cooperative Search and Coverage Algorithm with Controllable Revisit and Connectivity Maintenance for Multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

School of Electronics and Information, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710072, China
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Received: 24 March 2018 / Revised: 29 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018

Abstract

In this paper, we mainly study a cooperative search and coverage algorithm for a given bounded rectangle region, which contains several unknown stationary targets, by a team of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with non-ideal sensors and limited communication ranges. Our goal is to minimize the search time, while gathering more information about the environment and finding more targets. For this purpose, a novel cooperative search and coverage algorithm with controllable revisit mechanism is presented. Firstly, as the representation of the environment, the cognitive maps that included the target probability map (TPM), the uncertain map (UM), and the digital pheromone map (DPM) are constituted. We also design a distributed update and fusion scheme for the cognitive map. This update and fusion scheme can guarantee that each one of the cognitive maps converges to the same one, which reflects the targets’ true existence or absence in each cell of the search region. Secondly, we develop a controllable revisit mechanism based on the DPM. This mechanism can concentrate the UAVs to revisit sub-areas that have a large target probability or high uncertainty. Thirdly, in the frame of distributed receding horizon optimizing, a path planning algorithm for the multi-UAVs cooperative search and coverage is designed. In the path planning algorithm, the movement of the UAVs is restricted by the potential fields to meet the requirements of avoiding collision and maintaining connectivity constraints. Moreover, using the minimum spanning tree (MST) topology optimization strategy, we can obtain a tradeoff between the search coverage enhancement and the connectivity maintenance. The feasibility of the proposed algorithm is demonstrated by comparison simulations by way of analyzing the effects of the controllable revisit mechanism and the connectivity maintenance scheme. The Monte Carlo method is employed to validate the influence of the number of UAVs, the sensing radius, the detection and false alarm probabilities, and the communication range on the proposed algorithm. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-UAVs; search and coverage; digital pheromone; distributed receding horizon optimizing; collision avoidance; connectivity maintenance; minimum spanning tree; potential field multi-UAVs; search and coverage; digital pheromone; distributed receding horizon optimizing; collision avoidance; connectivity maintenance; minimum spanning tree; potential field
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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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Liu, Z.; Gao, X.; Fu, X. A Cooperative Search and Coverage Algorithm with Controllable Revisit and Connectivity Maintenance for Multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Sensors 2018, 18, 1472.

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