Cooperative area surveillance strategies using multiple unmanned systems
Jones, Phillip J.
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Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense placed the technological development of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) tools at the top of its priority list. Area surveillance that takes place in an urban setting is an ISR tool of special interest. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are ideal candidates to perform area surveillance because they are inexpensive and they do not require a human pilot to be aboard. Multiple unmanned systems increase the rate of information flow from the target region and maintain up to date information. The purpose of the research described in this dissertation is to develop and test a system that coordinates multiple UAVs on a wide area coverage surveillance mission. The research presented in this document implements a waypoint generator for multiple aerial vehicles that is especially suited for large area surveillance. The system chooses initial locations for the vehicles and generates a set of balanced sub-trees which cover the region of interest (ROI) for the vehicles. The sub-trees are then optimally combined to form a single minimal tree that spans the entire region. The system transforms the tree path into a series of waypoints suitable for the aerial vehicles. The output of the system is a set of waypoints for each vehicle assigned to the coverage task. Results from computer simulation and flight testing are presented.