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Recent years have seen rapidly growing interest in the development of networks of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (U.A.V.s), as aerial sensor networks for the purpose of coordinated monitoring, surveillance, and rapid emergency response. This has triggered a great deal of research in higher levels of planning and control, including collaborative sensing and exploration, synchronized motion planning, and formation or cooperative control. In this paper, we describe our recently developed experimental testbed at the University of Pennsylvania, which consists of multiple, fixed-wing UAVs. We describe the system architecture, software and hardware components, and overall system integration. We then derive high-fidelity models that are validated with hardware-in-the-loop simulations and actual experiments. Our models are hybrid, capturing not only the physical dynamics of the aircraft, but also the mode switching logic that supervises lower level controllers. We conclude with a description of cooperative control experiments involving two fixed-wing UAVs.
Hybrid modeling, multiple UAVs, experimental formation flying
Date Posted: 04 August 2005