The problem of aerial rendezvous of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is considered. Beam rider approach, wherein the follower moves along a beam directed from a ground-based tracker onto the leader is proposed as a guidance strategy. Analytic guarantee for a resulting rendezvous between two same speed vehicles is derived from the line-of-sight guidance principles. Considering an approximate variation of the follower look-ahead angle, closed-form expressions are derived for time-to-rendezvous and follower lateral acceleration. Cooperative maneuvers are proposed for the leader minimizing the rendezvous engagement time. Guidance models are extended to 3D engagements and efficacy of the proposed method is demonstrated by extensive 2D and 3D simulations. Simulation results are presented complying with the analytic findings. Robustness of the proposed approach is verified against uncompensated autopilot delays, non-identical initial speeds, and wind.
Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2018