Online UAV Trajectory Planning for Covert Video Surveillance of Mobile Targets

Hailong Huang, Andrey V. Savkin, Wei Ni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This article considers the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for covert video surveillance of a mobile target on the ground and presents a new online UAV trajectory planning technique with a balanced consideration of the energy efficiency, covertness, and aeronautic maneuverability of the UAV. Specifically, a new metric is designed to quantify the covertness of the UAV, based on which a multiobjective UAV trajectory planning problem is formulated to maximize the disguising performance and minimize the trajectory length of the UAV. A forward dynamic programming method is put forth to solve the problem online and plan the trajectory for the foreseeable future. In addition, the kinematic model of the UAV is considered in the planning process so that it can be tracked without any later adjustment. Extensive computer simulations are conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Covert video surveillance
  • Target tracking
  • Tracking
  • Trajectory
  • Trajectory planning
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Video surveillance
  • Visualization
  • dynamic programming (DP)
  • trajectory planning
  • unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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