A modular software infrastructure for distributed control of collaborating UAVs Conference Paper uri icon


  • Collaborating unmanned aerial vehicles can efficiently perform surveillance, mapping, and other tasks without human risk. Currently deployed unmanned aerial vehicles demonstrate a need for increased autonomy and cooperation. We present a UAV software architecture and hardware platform that have demonstrated single-user control of a fleet of aircraft, distributed task assignment, and vision-based navigation. A modular software infrastructure has been developed to coordinate distributed control, communications, and vision-based control. Along with the onboard control architecture, a set of user interfaces has been developed to allow a single user to efficiently control the fleet of aircraft. Distributed and vision-based control are enabled by powerful onboard computing capability and an aircraft-to-aircraft ad-hoc wireless network. Custom modifications to the Sig Rascal airframe are required to support this capability, including reinforcement and vibration isolation. We describe original elements of the system that provide unique capabilities for collaboration, followed by results of a flight demonstration. Copyright © 2006 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ryan, A., Xiao, X., Rathinam, S., Tisdale, J., Zennaro, M., Caveney, D., Sengupta, R., & Karl Hedrick, J.

publication date

  • December 2006