Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Space Systems


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard G. Cobb, PhD


This study examines the performance and limitations of a heuristic cooperative control (CC) surveillance algorithm for multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) under both simulation and demonstration. The algorithm generates Dubin's based paths and provides velocity feedback to accomplish simultaneous arrival onto a surveillance orbit around the target and maintains position while orbiting. The CC algorithm has two modes: one that generates commands to multiple UAVs for simultaneous arrival to a surveillance orbit, and one that maintains equal angular spacing about the orbit. In addition to positional performance metrics, percentage of target in-view time was also measured based on the UAV's side camera field of view (FOV). Simulation tested both modes under wind conditions of 0%, 10%, 25%, and 50% of the nominal airspeed (Vnom). Results showed that the algorithm maintained UAV position with winds 25% of Vnom, but instabilities appeared at 50% where large overshoots appeared on the downwind side of the orbit. Target visibility was most impacted by crosstrack errors that steadily grew with increasing winds. Roll of the UAV showed the greatest impact on the FOV due to its coupling effect with crosstrack error. Overall target in-view time also improved with increasing numbers of UAVs for all wind conditions.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number