Formulation of control strategies for requirement definition of multi-agent surveillance systems

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Aksaray, Derya
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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In a multi-agent system (MAS), the overall performance is greatly influenced by both the design and the control of the agents. The physical design determines the agent capabilities, and the control strategies drive the agents to pursue their objectives using the available capabilities. The objective of this thesis is to incorporate control strategies in the early conceptual design of an MAS. As such, this thesis proposes a methodology that mainly explores the interdependency between the design variables of the agents and the control strategies used by the agents. The output of the proposed methodology, i.e. the interdependency between the design variables and the control strategies, can be utilized in the requirement analysis as well as in the later design stages to optimize the overall system through some higher fidelity analyses. In this thesis, the proposed methodology is applied to a persistent multi-UAV surveillance problem, whose objective is to increase the situational awareness of a base that receives some instantaneous monitoring information from a group of UAVs. Each UAV has a limited energy capacity and a limited communication range. Accordingly, the connectivity of the communication network becomes essential for the information flow from the UAVs to the base. In long-run missions, the UAVs need to return to the base for refueling with certain frequencies depending on their endurance. Whenever a UAV leaves the surveillance area, the remaining UAVs may need relocation to mitigate the impact of its absence. In the control part of this thesis, a set of energy-aware control strategies are developed for efficient multi-UAV surveillance operations. To this end, this thesis first proposes a decentralized strategy to recover the connectivity of the communication network. Second, it presents two return policies for UAVs to achieve energy-aware persistent surveillance. In the design part of this thesis, a design space exploration is performed to investigate the overall performance by varying a set of design variables and the candidate control strategies. Overall, it is shown that a control strategy used by an MAS affects the influence of the design variables on the mission performance. Furthermore, the proposed methodology identifies the preferable pairs of design variables and control strategies through low fidelity analysis in the early design stages.
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