Multi UAV coverage path planning in urban environments

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Coverage path planning (CPP) is a field of study which objective is to find a path that covers every point of a certain area of interest. Recently, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has become more proficient in various applications such as surveillance, terrain coverage, mapping, natural disaster tracking, transport, and others. The aim of this paper is to design efficient coverage path planning collision-avoidance capable algorithms for single or multi UAV systems in cluttered urban environments. Two algorithms are developed and explored: one of them plans paths to cover a target zone delimited by a given perimeter with predefined coverage height and bandwidth, using a boustrophedon flight pattern, while the other proposed algorithm follows a set of predefined viewpoints, calculating a smooth path that ensures that the UAVs pass over the objectives. Both algorithms have been developed for a scalable number of UAVs, which fly in a triangular deformable leader-follower formation with the leader at its front. In the case of an even number of UAVs, there is no leader at the front of the formation and a virtual leader is used to plan the paths of the followers. The presented algorithms also have collision avoidance capabilities, powered by the Fast Marching Square algorithm. These algorithms are tested in various simulated urban and cluttered environments, and they prove capable of providing safe and smooth paths for the UAV formation in urban environments.
This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Planning and Mapping for Multi-Robot Systems.
UAVs, Coverage path planning, Path planning, Fast marching
Bibliographic citation
Muñoz, J., López, B., Quevedo, F., Monje, C. A., Garrido, S. & Moreno, L. E. (2021). Multi UAV Coverage Path Planning in Urban Environments. Sensors, 21(21), 7365.