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On Controlling Aircraft Formations
Departmental Papers (MEAM)
  • Rafael Fierro, Oklahoma State University
  • Calin Belta, University of Pennsylvania
  • Jaydev P. Desai, Drexel University
  • R. Vijay Kumar, University of Pennsylvania
Document Type
Conference Paper
Date of this Version
Copyright 2001 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings of the 40th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control 2001, Volume 2, pages 1065-1070.
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We describe a framework for controlling a group of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying in close formation. We first present a nonlinear dynamical model which includes the induced rolling moment by the lead aircraft on the wing of the following aircraft. Then, we outline two methods for trajectory generation of the leading aircraft, based on interpolation techniques on the Euclidean group, SE(3). Two formation controllers that allow each aircraft to maintain its position and orientation with respect to neighboring UAVs are derived using input-output feedback linearization. Numerical simulations illustrate the application of these ideas and demonstrate the validity of the proposed framework.
Citation Information
Rafael Fierro, Calin Belta, Jaydev P. Desai and R. Vijay Kumar. "On Controlling Aircraft Formations" (2001)
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