An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) swarm allows for a more time-efficient method of searching a specified area than a single UAV or piloted plane. There are a variety of factors that affect how well an area is surveyed. We specifically analyzed the effect both vehicle properties and communication had on the swarm search performance. We used non-dimensionalization so the results can be applied to any domain size with any type of vehicle. We found that endurance was the most important factor. Vehicles with good endurance sensed approximately 90% to 100% of the grid, even when other properties were lacking. If the vehicles lacked endurance, the amount of area the vehicles could sense at a given time step became more important and 10% more of the grid was sensed with the increase in sensed area. The maneuverability of the vehicles was measured as the vehicles' radii of turn compared to the search domain size. The maneuverability mattered the most in the middle-range endurance cases. In some cases 30% more of the grid was searched with improving vehicle maneuverability. In addition, we also examined four communication cases with different amounts of information regarding vehicle location. We found communication increased search performance by at least 6.3%. However, increasing the amount of information only changed the performance by 2.3%. We also studied the impact the range of vehicle communication had on search performance. We found that simulations benefited most from increasing the communication range when the amount of area sensed at a given time step was small and the vehicles had good maneuverability. We also extended the optimization to a multi-objective process with the inclusion of target tracking. We analyzed how the different weightings of the objectives affected the performance outcomes. We found that target tracking performance dramatically changes based on the given weighting of each objective and saw an increase of approximately 52%. However, the amount of the grid that was sensed only dropped by approximately 10%.
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Newcomb, Jenna Elisabeth, "Trajectory Optimization and Design for a Large Number of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 7755.
trajectory optimization, UAV swarms, design optimization, communication