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Autonomous formation flight

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3 Author(s)
Giulietti, F. ; Dept. of Electr. Syst. & Autom., Pisa Univ., Italy ; Pollini, L. ; Innocenti, M.

This article describes an approach to close-formation flight of autonomous aircraft. A standard LQ-based structure was synthesized for each vehicle and for formation position error control using linearized equations of motion and a lifting line model of the aircraft wake. We also consider the definition of a formation management structure, capable of dealing with a variety of generic transmission and communication failures among aircraft. The procedure was developed using a decentralized approach and relies on the Dijkstra algorithm. The algorithm provides optimal path information sequencing in the nominal case, as well as the redundancy needed to accommodate failures in data transmission and reception. Several simulations were carried out, and some of the results are presented. The overall scheme appears to be a valuable starting point for further research, especially specialization to situations representing more detailed and operational failures.

Published in:

Control Systems, IEEE  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 6 )