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Distributed circular formation flight of fixed-wing aircraft with Paparazzi autopilot

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Résumé

In this paper we introduce the usage of guidance vector fields for the coordination and formation flight of fixed-wing aircraft. In particular, we describe in detail the technological implementation of the formation flight control for a fully distributed execution of the algorithm by employing the open-source project Paparazzi. In this context, distributed means that each aircraft executes the algorithm on board, each aircraft only needs information about its neighbors, and the implementation is straightforwardly scalable to an arbitrary number of vehicles, i.e., the needed resources such as memory or computational power not necessarily scale with the number of total aircraft. The coordination is based on commanding the aircraft to track circumferences with different radii but sharing the same center. Consequently, the vehicles will travel different distances but with the same speeds in order to control their relative angles in the circumference, i.e., their orbital velocities. We show the effectiveness of the proposed design with actual formation flights during the drone parade in IMAV2017.
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Dates et versions

hal-01587220 , version 1 (05-10-2017)

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Hector Garcia de Marina, Gautier Hattenberger. Distributed circular formation flight of fixed-wing aircraft with Paparazzi autopilot. IMAV 2017, International Micro Air Vehicle Conference and Competition, Sep 2017, Toulouse, France. ⟨hal-01587220⟩
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