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19 July 2004 A swarm-assisted integrated communication and sensing network
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We present a design concept for an integrated communication and sensor network that employs swarms of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). UAVs are deployed in two types of swarms: sensor swarms or communication swarms. Sensor swarms are motivated by the belief that adversaries will force future confrontations into urban settings, where advantages in surveillance and weapons are diminished. A sensor system is needed which can provide high-resolution imagery and an unobstructed view of a hazardous environment fraught with obstructions. These requirements can be satisfied by a swarm of inexpensive UAVs which “work together” by arranging themselves into a flight configuration that optimizes their integrated sensing capability. If a UAV is shot down, the swarm reconfigures its topology to continue the mission with the surviving assets. We present a methodology that integrates the agents into a formation that enhances the sensing operations while minimizing the transmission of control information for topology adaptation. We demonstrate the performance tradeoff between search time and number of UAVs employed, and present an algorithm that determines the minimum swarm size necessary to meet a targeted search completion time within probabilistic guarantees. A communication swarm provides an infrastructure to distribute information provided by the sensor swarms, and enables communication between dispersed ground locations. UAVs are “guided” to locations that provide the best support for an underlying ground-based communication network and for dissemination of data collected by sensor swarms.
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Patrick J. Vincent and Izhak Rubin "A swarm-assisted integrated communication and sensing network", Proc. SPIE 5441, Battlespace Digitization and Network-Centric Systems IV, (19 July 2004);

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