Enhanced Cost Minimization Algorithm for Control Architectures

Laura L. Lucas


This research emphasized control for missions with multiple unmanned vehicles (UVs). Extensions to an existing unified control architecture were developed. Line-of-sight (LOS) obstructions and total communication power limitations, such as battery capacity for communicating in multiple rover scenarios, were combined into one problem. The operational mission is summarized as follows: The operator initiates control transmissions between base and the UVs, while a small aerial vehicle provides a relay supporting flexible communications. During this mission, the system strives to maintain LOS communication with as many friendly UVs as possible. Automated enhanced placement software was designed to keep UVs visible to the relay. Manually determined relay placement might reduce performance and threaten safety; therefore, autonomous placement is under development. While there was documentation regarding midpoint placement for single rover scenarios, enhanced placement with battlespace obstructions and a flexible quantity of UVs was not completed previously. The algorithm provides two levels of decision support: first, it computes feasible destinations for the relay. Second, the algorithm reveals the minimum-cost destination from the finite set of candidates. Visibility computation ran in the background with three nodes and delivered relay coordinates to the operator. Flight test results are presented.