Energy-Efficient Autonomous Navigation of Solar-Powered UAVs for Surveillance of Mobile Ground Targets in Urban Environments

Hailong Huang, Andrey V. Savkin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


In this paper, we consider the navigation of a group of solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for periodical monitoring of a set of mobile ground targets in urban environments. We consider the scenario where the number of targets is larger than that of the UAVs, and the targets spread in the environment, so that the UAVs need to carry out a periodical surveillance. The existence of tall buildings in urban environments brings new challenges to the periodical surveillance mission. They may not only block the Line-of-Sight (LoS) between a UAV and a target, but also create some shadow region, so that the surveillance may become invalid, and the UAV may not be able to harvest energy from the sun. The periodical surveillance problem is formulated as an optimization problem to minimize the target revisit time while accounting for the impact of the urban environment. A nearest neighbour based navigation method is proposed to guide the movements of the UAVs. Moreover, we adopt a partitioning scheme to group targets for the purpose of narrowing UAVs’ moving space, which further reduces the target revisit time. The effectiveness of the proposed method is verified via computer simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5563
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • autonomous systems
  • solar-powered UAVs
  • control of electric vehicles
  • applications of solar powered vehicles
  • energy-efficient UAV navigation
  • sensing coverage
  • dynamic coverage
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • rapidly-exploring random tree (RRT)


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