This paper employs a unique extension-decomposition-aggregation (EDA) scheme to solve the formation flight control problem for multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The corresponding decentralised longitudinal and lateral formation autopilots are novelly designed to maintain the overall formation stability when encountering changes of the formation error and topologies. The concept of propagation layer number (PLN) is also proposed to provide an intuitive criterion to judge which type of formation topology is more suitable to minimise formation error propagation (FEP). The criterion states that the smaller the PLN of the formation is, the quicker the response to the formation error is. A smaller PLN also means that the resulting topology provides better prevention to the FEP. Simulation studies of formation flight of multiple Aerosonde UAVs demonstrate that the designed formation controller based on the EDA strategy performs satisfactorily in maintaining the overall formation stable, and the bidirectional partial-mesh topology is found to provide the best overall response to the formation error propagation based on the PLN criterion.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering|
|Early online date||06 Aug 2015|
|Publication status||Published - 09 Feb 2016|