Multi-UAVs formation autopilot design and performance analysis under interconnection topologies

Aolei Yang, Wasif Naeem, M. Fei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-484
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date06 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 09 Feb 2016


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