SCIENCE CHINA Information Sciences, Volume 62 , Issue 11 : 212204(2019) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-018-9887-5

Coordinated flight control of miniature fixed-wing UAV swarms: methods and experiments

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  • ReceivedNov 9, 2018
  • AcceptedMar 29, 2019
  • PublishedSep 19, 2019



This work was partly supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61801494), and Joint Fund of Ministry of Education of China for Equipment Pre-research and Beijing Nova Program (Grant No. 2018047). The authors express their deepest gratitude to the SWARM TEAM of the NUDT. Without their hard work, the flight experiments could not be done.


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  • Figure 3

    (Color online) The multi-layered group-based UAV swarm architecture.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) The main processes of coordinated formation flight control. (a) Circling rendezvous; (b) hybrid formation control; (c) formation patter reconfiguration.

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Seven UAVs circling in an ordered alignment. (a) Achieving alignment in the ground station; protectłinebreak (b) the achieved alignment in the field experiment.

  • Figure 6

    Description of the path-following problem: point $p_i$ is the projection of the $i$-th leader UAV onto the directed path $\Gamma_i$.

  • Figure 11

    (Color online) (a) $21$ UAV formation; (b) triangle formation; (c) “Ba-Yi” formation; (d) $2$-row formation; protectłinebreak (e) $2$-column formation; (f) V formation.

  • Figure 12

    Demonstration of the path-following settings and communication topology of the six leader UAVs.

  • Figure 17

    (Color online) State prediction of the UAVs for collision risk judgment.

  • Figure 18

    (Color online) Inter-UAV collision avoidance in flight.

  • Figure 19

    (Color online) Balloon avoidance in flight tests.


    Algorithm 1 Consensus-based circling rendezvous

    Calculate the angle coordination variable in 1 for each UAV subgroup;

    if all angle coordination variables are sufficiently close to each other, i.e., if Eq. 5 holds, then

    Calculate the desired velocity $V_i^r$ by 3;


    Calculate the desired velocity $V_i^r$ by4;

    end if


    Algorithm 2 Hybrid formation flight control for UAV $i$

    if UAV $i$ is a leader, then

    Conduct the coordinated path-following algorithm described in Subsection sect. 4.2.1;


    Conduct the leader-follower coordination algorithm in Subsection 4.2.2;

    end if


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