On Reduced Time Fault Tolerant Paths for Multiple UAVs Covering a Hostile Terrain

Rahul Sawhney    K. Madhava Krishna    Kannan Srinathan    Mahesh Mohan   

IIIT Hyderabad, India   

We present a method for finding reduced time coverage paths of multiple UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles) monitoring a 3D terrain represented as height fields. A novel metric based on per time visibility is used that couples visibility gained at a terrain point with the time spent to reach the point. This coupled metric is utilized to form reduced time paths by maximizing the visibility gained per unit time at every step. We compare the results of this approach with an approach that covers the terrain based on a per distance visibility metric, which reduces the sum, over distances covered by each UAV path. The comparisons show that the current method gives substantially time reduced paths albeit with an expected increase in sum over distances of UAV paths. We also show that time taken to cover the terrain based on the current metric is far less than prevalent methods that try to decompose the terrain based on visibility followed by time or time followed by visibility in a decoupled fashion. The method is further extended to provide for fault tolerance on a hostile terrain. Each terrain point is guaranteed to be seen by at-least one UAV that has not been damaged due to any calamity, shot or otherwise.