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Sensors (Basel). 2015 Nov 2;15(11):27783-803. doi: 10.3390/s151127783.

Multi-UAV Routing for Area Coverage and Remote Sensing with Minimum Time.

Author information

1
Escola de Engenharia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos 6627, Belo Horizonte 31270-901, MG, Brazil. gustavoavellar@ufmg.br.
2
Escola de Engenharia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos 6627, Belo Horizonte 31270-901, MG, Brazil. gpereira@ufmg.br.
3
Escola de Engenharia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos 6627, Belo Horizonte 31270-901, MG, Brazil. lucpim@cpdee.ufmg.br.
4
Escola de Engenharia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos 6627, Belo Horizonte 31270-901, MG, Brazil. iscold309@gmail.com.

Abstract

This paper presents a solution for the problem of minimum time coverage of ground areas using a group of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) equipped with image sensors. The solution is divided into two parts: (i) the task modeling as a graph whose vertices are geographic coordinates determined in such a way that a single UAV would cover the area in minimum time; and (ii) the solution of a mixed integer linear programming problem, formulated according to the graph variables defined in the first part, to route the team of UAVs over the area. The main contribution of the proposed methodology, when compared with the traditional vehicle routing problem's (VRP) solutions, is the fact that our method solves some practical problems only encountered during the execution of the task with actual UAVs. In this line, one of the main contributions of the paper is that the number of UAVs used to cover the area is automatically selected by solving the optimization problem. The number of UAVs is influenced by the vehicles' maximum flight time and by the setup time, which is the time needed to prepare and launch a UAV. To illustrate the methodology, the paper presents experimental results obtained with two hand-launched, fixed-wing UAVs.

KEYWORDS:

UAVs; coverage path planning; vehicle routing problem

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