Towards persistent surveillance and reconnaissance using a connected swarm of multiple UAVs

Jeihee Cho, Jaeyi Sung, Jinyi Yoon, Hyungjune Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In situations where surveillance or communication infrastructure has collapsed, it is important to keep monitoring affected areas. We leverage unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to collect and provide up-to-date on-site information to a data consumer in an efficient way, for later complete yet agile analysis. We propose a distributed dynamic data collection scheme for persistent surveillance and reconnaissance, using a swarm of connected UAVs with two phases of operation: 1) network formation; and 2) UAV traversal of a region of interest. The main task of a UAV is to continuously collect data within its sensing range, while the UAV swarm travels along the calculated paths. When UAVs are newly connected to form a swarm, or disconnected from an already-formed swarm, a formation phase begins. In the formation phase, UAVs become a single group and produce a compact, dynamically alternating formation called DiagonalX to cover broad areas, including boundary parts, in a fair and effective manner. During the traversal phase, each UAV swarm finds a simple yet efficient navigation path based on data freshness to cover sub-areas and continuously obtain up-to-date information evenly throughout the whole region of interest. Simulation experiments confirm that both formation and traversal procedures perform essential tasks in a distributed manner, while maintaining better data freshness than other counterpart algorithms, with a freshness factor of up to 5.77, and reasonable overheads. An additional feature, a dynamically aperiodic formation change, achieves a more stable performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157906-157917
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2020


  • Connected UAVs
  • Mobile sensor networks
  • Persistent surveillance
  • Reconnaissance
  • Swarm exploration


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