Skip to Main Content
This paper develops a novel communications protocol for autonomous swarms of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) searching a 2-dimensional grid. The search protocol, the UAV search mission protocol (USMP), combines inter-UAV communication with geographic routing to improve search efficiency in terms of total searches, distance traveled by UAVs, and the minimization of UAV direction changes. By determining where search state updates impact search decisions, messages are geographically routed to improve search efficiency. USMP and the geographic greedy perimeter stateless routing (GPSR) protocol are studied via simulation using OPNET modeler 12.0. Geographic routing degrades performance by at least 20% in total searches and distance traveled, but improves direction changes by 6.7%. Overall, USMP improves performance by as much as 188% compared to scenarios without inter-UAV communication.