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

14 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

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. All rights reserved.


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


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