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We describe a framework for controlling a group of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying in close formation. We first present a nonlinear dynamical model which includes the induced rolling moment by the lead aircraft on the wing of the following aircraft. Then, we outline two methods for trajectory generation of the leading aircraft, based on interpolation techniques on the Euclidean group, SE(3). Two formation controllers that allow each aircraft to maintain its position and orientation with respect to neighboring UAVs are derived using input-output feedback linearization. Numerical simulations illustrate the application of these ideas and demonstrate the validity of the proposed framework.
Fierro, Rafael; Belta, Calin; Desai, Jaydev P.; and Kumar, R. Vijay, "On Controlling Aircraft Formations" (2001). Departmental Papers (MEAM). 34.
Date Posted: 24 November 2004
This document has been peer reviewed.