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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 196730, 19 pages
Research Article

Cooperative Search by Multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in a Nonconvex Environment

College of Mechatronic Engineering and Automation, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, Hunan 410073, China

Received 12 January 2015; Revised 18 July 2015; Accepted 26 July 2015

Academic Editor: Alain Vande Wouwer

Copyright © 2015 Xiaoting Ji et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents a distributed cooperative search algorithm for multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with limited sensing and communication capabilities in a nonconvex environment. The objective is to control multiple UAVs to find several unknown targets deployed in a given region, while minimizing the expected search time and avoiding obstacles. First, an asynchronous distributed cooperative search framework is proposed by integrating the information update into the coverage control scheme. And an adaptive density function is designed based on the real-time updated probability map and uncertainty map, which can balance target detection and environment exploration. Second, in order to handle nonconvex environment with arbitrary obstacles, a new transformation method is proposed to transform the cooperative search problem in the nonconvex region into an equivalent one in the convex region. Furthermore, a control strategy for cooperative search is proposed to plan feasible trajectories for UAVs under the kinematic constraints, and the convergence is proved by LaSalle’s invariance principle. Finally, by simulation results, it can be seen that our proposed algorithm is effective to handle the search problem in the nonconvex environment and efficient to find targets in shorter time compared with other algorithms.