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J Intell Robot Syst (2012) 68:359371

DOI 10.1007/s10846-012-9690-9

UAV Mobile Ground Target Pursuit Algorithm


Xiaowei Fu Huicheng Feng Xiaoguang Gao

Received: 6 September 2011 / Accepted: 4 July 2012 / Published online: 17 July 2012
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Abstract In this paper, we propose a comprehensive ground target pursuit algorithm for fixedwing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Based on
the division of two kinds of possible path patterns,
the method generates waypoints step by step and
steers the UAV to the latest waypoint. When it
is time for waypoint correction, the tracking error
will be recorded, and this error will be transferred to the next waypoint for synchronization
purposes. An alarm mechanism is applied in case
the target moves out of range of the UAV sensor.
The noise in the measurement of the target parameters is considered and is processed by a least
square estimator. Simulations with three different
scenarios are performed, and the results demonstrate that the algorithm is stable, reliable, and
computationally efficient.
Keywords UAV Ground target tracking
Path patterns Alarm mechanism
List of symbols
vUAV
rmax

The velocity of the UAV


The maximum active distance of the
UAVs sensor

X. Fu (B) H. Feng X. Gao


School of Electronics and Information,
Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xian, China
e-mail: fxw@nwpu.edu.cn

vt
r

r0

The heading of the UAV


The velocity of the target
Target distance
The heading of the target
The minimum turning radius of the UAV

1 Introduction
1.1 Background
Recent development of unmanned aerial vehicles
(UAVs) has focused attention on autonomous
operation. Automatic tracking of mobile ground
targets has particular advantages for UAVs in
easing the burden on human operators, decreasing
costs, and allowing increased maneuverability of
the aircraft.
Being able to hover over the target and turn
rapidly, a rotary-winged UAV is able to track
a ground target easily. However, as the main
rotor propels the fuselage forward as well as
provides lift, the combination of the two roles
leads to lower fuel efficiency and consequently
hinders its long-endurance applications. By contrast, fixed-wing air vehicles can provide excellent performance for long-range missions thanks
to their higher fuel usage efficiency. Meanwhile,
there remain some issues to be considered when
a fixed-wing UAV is undertaking a ground target tracking task. Firstly, the stall speed of the

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fixed-wing UAV is much higher than the velocity


of most ground vehicles; secondly, the footprint
of the airborne sensor is limited; and thirdly, the
loading that the platform can tolerate is bounded.
These characteristics are restricted by limitations
of the corresponding assets, namely, the aerodynamic shape, the sensors dimension, and the
structural strength. Another issue that needs to be
highlighted involves the inertial navigation system
(INS) where long time turning will bring about
severe drift of the gyro systems output. As known
to all of us, the INS is the major navigation component in many aircraft, and its gyro axes friction
torque plays an important role in its drift. If the
turning time is decreased, the friction torque will
have less impact on the drift, which implies that
the precision for the geolocation of target will be
improved.
These issues have been explored in a wide
range of literature. Reference [1] proposed a simple control strategy with a real drone simulation.
By virtue of a lateral guidance law, this strategy
aims at reaching a given target view angle. Reference [2] describes a target positioning method
using flight attitude, altitude, camera pan and tilt
angle. The former emphasizes the optimization of
visibility under the constraints of distance and various camera configurations, while the latter carries
out the mission based on a criterion of directional
consistency between the UAV and the target. In
reference [3], the authors summarize some existing tracking techniques, such as good helmsman
behaviors, modified Lyapunov vector field, controlled collective motion, and real-time optimization. They also compare their performance
in a great many aspects, such as wind-resistant
ability, stability, and ability to supporting multiple
UAVs, etc. In reference [4], the authors design
a set of algorithms to estimate target location,
coordinate the multiple vehicles and plan path
under riverine environment. The control law they
present can always locates the target at the center
of field of view while tracking the target.
1.2 Principle and Objective
In this paper, we present an integrated algorithm
for a fixed-wing UAV to track a ground mobile
target with stability, reliability, and an economic

J Intell Robot Syst (2012) 68:359371

computational budget. We apply a type of least


square estimation filter to estimate the targets
motion and then generate guiding waypoints
(GWPs) step by step to steer the UAV to fly in
pace with the target. Distinct from the existing
methods aforementioned, our main goal is to discipline the UAV to keep visibility of the target
along a path with as little turning time as possible,
and we dedicate our concerns on the algorithms
availability on small UAVs and less overall turning time. The method is especially useful for smallscale UAVs for four main features: (1) It is simple
in implementation and effective, (2) it is more
discrete than existing ones and claims for less
computation power, (3) the trajectory it generates will have less turning time within the same
tracking procedure and will help to improve the
target geolocation performance, and (4) it is able
to command the UAV to keep tracking a target
evolves at a wide spectrum of velocity, ranging
from zero up to the lower bound of the UAVs
velocity.
The rest of this paper is organized as follows:
Section 2 will depict the assumptions and the
constraints involved, Section 3 will formulate the
guiding waypoint-based target tracking strategy,
and Section 4 will exhibit the usefulness of the
least square estimator (LSE). In Section 5, the
simulations with three different scenarios are performed and the results are thoroughly analyzed.
Section 6 will summarize the paper and articulate
our conclusion.

2 Problem Representation
2.1 Sensor Modeling
A gyro-stabilized, downward imaging sensor is
assumed to be fitted on the UAVs underside to
discriminate the target from the background and
to determine the targets relative position with
respect to the UAV. Its inside gyro subsystem
provides an inertial coordinate platform with the
x-axis oriented to north, the y-axis oriented to
east, and the z-axis vertical to the ground. The estimation of the coordinates and speed of the target
in the geographic coordinate system is realized by

J Intell Robot Syst (2012) 68:359371

a filter developed in chapter IV for the purpose to


eliminate the movement of the carrier. The layout
of the sensor is demonstrated in Fig. 1.
The sensor is also assumed to possess a finite
field of view (FOV) within degrees, bounded by
the physical structure and dimensions of the sensor. When the target is captured by the UAV, i.e.,
the targets deflection angle with respect to the
principal optical axis is less than , the sensor will
scan the ground periodically and distinguish the
targets profile by comparing the airborne target
image data and the extracted target image. The
relative angular coordinates of the target centers
relative angular position on azimuth, , and on
elevation, , will be calculated.
We also assume that there is a simple relation
between the rmax and :
rmax = h0 tg ,
where the rmax is the max radius of the UAVs
visible zones vertical projection at altitude of h0 .
2.2 Motion Statements
The UAV is assumed to move at a constant altitude h0 over the ground and a constant velocity
vUAV , while the target moves on horizontal ground
with varying speed vt and does not take evasive
action. In addition, vUAV is presumed greater than
the vt during the entire pursuit period discussed.
The maneuverability constraint of the UAV is
prescribed by the normal load factor Nmax , and
there exists a relation between the Nmax and r0 :
2
v
r0 =  UAV ,
2
g Nmax
1

where g is the acceleration of gravity.


2.3 Mission Description
The UAV is assumed to have captured the target
by its camera and to have got close enough to
the target. The UAV is then assumed to keep
tracking the target for a period, where the tracking
represents the status that the target remains inside
the cone of the UAVs visibility shown in Fig. 1.
The finalization of this mission is not of concern
at this time.

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h0

rmax

Fig. 1 Sensor configuration of the UAV

3 Tracking Strategy
The principle of our ground target tracking algorithm primarily proceeds in two steps. Initially, the
GWP, dedicated to regulate the main generating
trajectory in a predefined pattern, is calculated
and the UAV is commanded to fly toward the
GWP. Then, when the correct points (explained
in the latter) are reached, i.e., when it is time
for correction, the difference with respect to the
desired position, known as tracking error, will be
calculated and recorded. This error will have an
effect on the generation of the next GWP. In
addition, when it is still possible for the target
to get lost, an alarm mechanism is introduced to
deal with the potential violation of the sensors
visibility constraints.
Each GWP can be represented by a quaternion
of {X,Y, ,T}, where (X,Y) is the geographic coordinates of the GWP, is the heading of the next
path segment, and T is the scheduled time before
arriving at the next GWP. During the mission
period, the UAV only needs to maintain the latest
GWP which it flies from (denoted as Gf ) and the
next GWP which it flies to (denoted as Gt ). When
the UAV arrives at Gt , theGf will be substituted
by Gt and the Gt will be figured out iteratively
based on the algorithm to be explained.
With these preliminary setups, the pseudo code
description of the main flow is as follows:
1 Start
2 If capture target or alarm handling terminates
3
Then initialize the GWP
4 Else
5
If the Gt is reached

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6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22

J Intell Robot Syst (2012) 68:359371

Then evaluate the targets motion.


Generate the Gt , and let G f = Gt .
Correct the Gt

a detour to remain locked onto the target. All


available curved paths can be essentially categorized into two different patterns or modes, i.e.,
z type and whirling type. Figure 2 gives the diagrammatic expression of these patterns viewed
from a downward perspective. Figure 2a demonstrates the z type marked by M0 and part b and
c whirling one marked by M1 . The dash-dotted
line represents the targets path, and the solid line
represents the UAVs expected trajectory. The
M1 can be classified further into MS0 (b) and
MS1 (c) since the UAV can loiter clockwise or
anticlockwise over the target. Each type has four
stages in one circle, which is uniformly indicated
by segments AB, BC, CD, and DE in Fig. 2. They
are designated by phase S1 , S2 , S3 , and S4 , respectively, for simplicity of consideration. The points
F, G, and H in Fig. 2 are referred as correction
points.
The difference between the two modes is that
the UAV flying along the upper path moves forward all the time and the total angle change is
zero in one period from A to E, while the lower
two cases just have forward momentum in one
of the squares four edges and the total angle
change is -2 or 2 radian in one period. Since
the former travels much faster, it is preferable
for the task pursuing rapid targets, and the latter
is appropriate for slower target. The division to
define rapid and slow is given by the inequality
(1):


2 rmax
vUAV <
+
vt .
(1)
2
r0

Else
Fly toward Gt
If arrive at the correction point
Then compute the tracking error
and record it.
Endif
Test whether there is an alarm.
If alarm is detected
Then turn on the alarm flag.
Chase after the target until the target
distance gets small enough.
Turn off the flag and terminate the
alarm handling.
Endif
Endif
Endif
Repeat Start

It should be noted that in line 8, correction of


the Gt is generated based on the computation in
line 12 of previous loop. This step can synchronize
the Gt with the target, which takes no account of
the target motion before correction.
3.1 Guiding Waypoint Generation
The GWP generation is calculated on the basis of
the UAVs current trajectory mode and the current phase described below. The solving of the
GWP is carried out on the assumption that the
target is traveling in uniform motion.

If formula (1) is satisfied, M0 will be selected and


otherwise M1 .
The inequality is derived on the critical situation (Fig. 3) when M0 is changing into M1 , namely,

1. Determination of the trajectory mode.


Having a tendency to exceed the target speed,
it is inevitable that the UAV will have to make

Fig. 2 The trajectory


modes and the phase

I
C

(a)

C A

(b)

(c)

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2. Timing for the GWP.


Given the vU AV and vr , the mode Mi s flight time
at phase S j, denoted as tij, is obtained through
formula (3),
B

t02 = t04

rmax

=2

G
2r0



rmax r0
sin2 + (vt vUAV cos ) /
vUAV
 1
2 2
;
(vUAV vt )

t01 = t03

Fig. 3 Critical situation

t11 =
the max r during one circle is rmax , is /2, and
the width (i.e., the segment AB in Fig. 2a) is 2r0 ,
as shown in the following diagram. The equation
can be deducted that
2rmax 2r0 + r0
2r0
=
vUAV
vt
vUAV


rmax
2
=
+
vt
r0
2

(2)

If vUAV is somewhat greater than the value of


formula (3), UAV will definitely overtake the
ground target in mode M0 and it is impossible for
the UAV to keep tracking the target in the mode
M0 . So, it is reasonable to use the inequality as the
division criteria for the two modes.

t1

vt vUAV cos t , v > v


02
t
UAV cos ;
=
vUAV vt

0,
otherwise;

rmax r0
;
vUAV

t12 = t13 = t14 =

vUAV vt
t11 .
3vt + vUAV

(3)

where is the tilt angle shown in Fig. 2a, i {0, 1},


and j {1, 2, 3, 4}, respectively. is a variable
used to improve the performance which will be
discussed later. The derivation for the formulas
above is presented as follows.
In mode M0 , the t0 j is devised to satisfy the
following rules that provided the UAV and target
move in a uniform manner: (1) In the whole tracking period from A to E depicted in Fig. 2a, the
UAV and target must overlap at least over points
A and E. (2) The maximal distance between UAV
and target must be less than rmax . Directed by

t1

t2

t4

0.5

-r 0
r max

t4

O
t1+t2
t3

(a)
Fig. 4 Derivation for timing

(b)

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rule (1), t01 and t02 are correlated by the equation


vUAV (t01 + t02 cos ) = vt (t01 + t02 ).
After simple transformation, the second equation of formula (3) can thus be deduced. It is also
easy to prove that OA in Fig. 4a is longer than any
UAV-target distance during the entire tracking.
So it is conservative and reasonable to choose OA
as the upper limits for the UAV-target distance,
namely, rmax r0 . The first equation in formula (1)
therefore can be easily obtained from this result.
In mode M1 , the t1 j is derived to satisfy the
following rules that provided the UAV and target move in uniform manner: (1) At the beginning and the end of one circle from A to E in
Fig. 2b and c, the target must locate at the center
of the square shaped by the UAVs trajectory.
(2) The maximal distance between UAV and target must be less than rmax . Directed by the rule
(1), t10 and t11 are correlated by the equation
vUAV (t01 t02 ) = vt (t01 + 3t02 ).
The fourth equation of formula (3) can thus be
easily derived. Let O be the center of the square
demonstrated in Fig. 4b. It is apparent that OA is
the longest possible distance between target and
its pursuer. To simplify the expression of this distance constraint, it is feasible to use AB, which is
longer than OA, to replace the OA as the distance
limits, namely, rmax r0 . The third equation is thus
obtained.
3. Generation of the GWP.
Depending on the algorithms specific status, two
different generating methods for the GWPs are
needed. When the UAV captures the target for
the first time or restarts the tracking procedure, it
is required to initialize the first GWP according
to the rules presented in Table 1. The specific
generating steps of GWP and the formulas are
presented in the Appendix.

Table 1 Initialization of GWP


Modea
M0
M1
a Refers

Table 2 Transition Scheme


Mode

Phase

M0
M1

MS0
MS1

S1

S2

S3

S0

MS0 , S3

MS0 , S0

MS0 , S1

MS1 , S0

S3
S1

S0
S2

S1
S3

S2
S0

On the other hand, if the tracking mode persists


for a period without interruption, implying that
the target does not maneuver drastically, the regular method for GWP computation will be applied.
The implementation of this method is detailed in
the Appendix.
As the inequality (1) changes its direction, the
mode transition occurs. This procedure requires
special concern to ensure the fluent transition
from M0 to M1 and M1 to M0 . To satisfy this
requirement, the corresponding measure is described in Table 2, and the detailed information
can be looked up in the Appendix.
3.2 Correction of the GWP
A synchronous mechanism is essential in our algorithm for harmonizing both participants. The correction fulfills this function and thus is of great importance. The correction mechanism is described
as follows.
When the points F, G, and H in Fig. 2 are
achieved, the correction occurs and the tracking
error will be recorded. When the Gt of the current
stage is achieved, this correcting value will be referred and transferred to the Gt of the next stage.
Repeat of this cycle will keep the UAV loitering
around the target.
Meanwhile, to simplify the problem, the correction is decomposed into vertical and horizontal
components with respect to the target heading.
They are denoted as Cv and Ch , respectively. The
correction scheme is presented in Table 3.

Positionb
Left

Right

M0 , S1
MS1 , S3

M0 , S3
MS0 , S3

to the current mode determined by the inequality

(1)
b Refers to the relative position with respect to the target

Table 3 Correction scheme


Mode
M0
M1

Phase
S1

S2

S3

S4

F, Ch
F, Ch

G,Cv , Ch
G, Cv

I, Ch
None

H, Cv , Ch
H, Cv

J Intell Robot Syst (2012) 68:359371

In order to improve the synchronization of M0 ,


is adjusted when the UAV flies over the point H
according to formula (4):

2 , initialization restart > 2


.
(4)
=
d

+
, otherwise
2 (rmax r) 2
3.3 Alarms and the Handling Technique
The measures taken above are not consistently
reliable in essence, since they are not capable of
making an instant and adequate reaction when the
target turns or accelerates. This potential threat
will be identified by the UAV to compute formula

(5) where the l is the relative position vector of


the target with respect to the UAV, t1 is the predicted time before the target arrives the UAVs
sensor fringe, and t2 is the predicted time before
the UAV turns toward the target:




l r0 l
;
t1 =
vUAV vt ) l
(



v

l
l
t
arccos ;
a = arccos


|
vUAV | l
l

b r0
a; a >
b =
; t2 =
.
(5)
2 a; other
|
vUAV |
If t1 is less than t2 , an alarm will be posted and the
handling procedure will take charge of the UAV
to guide it to fly to the targets projection within
the UAVs plane. General homing guidance laws
are appropriate to handle this procedure, and we
pick up the proportional guidance law to execute
the pursuit.

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The interactive multiple models (IMM) filter


introduced in literature [5] was our choice to
conduct this process. However, this kind of filter
is not appropriate for the condition where the
input parameter is in relative coordinates. The
reason is that to deduce the target velocity and
heading from the known relative location of the
target, a differential operation is necessary which
will amplify the noise significantly. Unaware of
this shortcoming, we dwelled on the IMM filter
until its benefit was shown to be not achievable.
To overcome this disadvantage, one simple but
effective LSE [6] is constructed instead. The formation of the LSE is described as follows.
Individual geography coordinates in T cycles
are assumed to be satisfied with the quadratic
formula (6)
X(t) = a1 t2 + b 1 t + c1
Y(t) = a2 t2 + b 2 t + c2

(6)

where T is the estimators time sequence length,


t { p, 2 p, . . ., Tp} is the time sequence on the
condition that p is the period of image processing cycle, and a1 , b 1 , c1 , a2 , b 2 , c2 are the
fitting coefficients. After the symbols H, A, Z
are defined to represent the following matrix,
respectively,

p2
..
.
T 2 p2


X Y
1
1
1
a1 a2
.. , b b , .. .. ,
. .
1 2
.
c1 c2
Tp 1
XT Y T
p
..
.

and the measures Xi and Yi are figured out


on the basis of the following formula with the
UAVs geographical

 coordinates of the ith cycle
Xi
, Yi
UAV
UAV

4 Target Estimation
The signal acquired from the camera or other
airborne imaging facility will undoubtedly be
affected by noise from some stages before usage,
and the data of interest, such as absolute position and velocity, cannot be directly extracted.
Therefore, a certain kind of estimator must be
employed.

i
Xi = h0 tan i + XUAV
i
Yi = h0 tan i + YUAV

The matrix A can be computed by


1 T

H Z [7].
A = HT H

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Fig. 5 Abscissa error


before and after the
process of LSE

The target geographical coordinates, velocity,


heading at the Tth cycle therefore can be derived
from
X(t) = a1 t2 + b 1 t + c1
Y(t) = a2 t2 + b 2 t + c2


V(t) = (2 a1 t + b 1 )2 + (2 a2 t + b 2 )2 0.5


(t) = arctan (2 a2 t + b 2 ) / (2 a1 t + b 1 )
where t equals Tp. The iterative solving of these
formulas will extract the real-time motion information of the target.
Fig. 6 Trajectory
generated for Case 1

Since the estimation before the numbers of


measure matrix Z that are fully populated is not
reliable, the correct information must be provided
by other means during the startup stage of the
LSE. Moreover, when the velocity is estimated to
be very small, the heading cannot be evaluated
precisely, and thus, when the velocity is comparatively small with respect to the UAV, its heading
is considered to be invariant.
The abscissa error data during a certain simulation are sketched in Fig. 5. The dotted
line and solid line represent the raw data and
that processed by the least square estimator,

J Intell Robot Syst (2012) 68:359371

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Fig. 7 The target


distance for Case 1

respectively. In the figure, the smoothing effect


is self-evident where the input signal is actually
subject to a Gaussian-distributed noise centered
on zero with a variance of 2 m.

5 Simulation Results
In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the
presented algorithm, simulations of three typical
scenarios with complete realization of the preced-

Fig. 8 Trajectory
generated for Case 2

ing methods are performed. During the simulation, the UAV is configured with a sensor of 36
and is set to loiter at an altitude h0 of 2,000 m
with a velocity of 120 m/s. The proportional factor
utilized in the alarm handling procedure is set to
be a constant value of 5. The LSEs parameters
T and p are designated to be 50 and 0.132 s,
respectively.
Case 1 The target moves in a rectilinear manner
with varying velocity. In this case, the target is

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Fig. 9 The target


distance for Case 2

set to proceed in the direction of northwest with


velocity observing the following formula:

120; t 20

120 2.5(t 20); 20 < t 68


v = 0; 68 < t 200

0.3(t 200); 200 < t 400

60; otherwise
where the t unit is seconds and v unit is meters per
second. In the following context, the unit system
is selected in concert. In this case, the tracking
trajectory is portrayed in Fig. 6 and the target
distance curve is plotted in Fig. 7. In Fig. 6, the
small rectangle, cross, dotted line, and bold solid
line represent the starting location, GWP, UAV
trajectory, and the target path, respectively, and in
Fig. 7, the dash-dotted line, dashed line, and solid
line represent the rmax , target distance, and the
visibility binary, respectively. In addition, when
the UAV is tackling the alarm, the target distance
is plotted in a bold line.
Due to the target moving as fast as the UAV
at the beginning, the alarm occurs and the homing
guidance law steers the UAV to keep within tight
proximity of the target. As the target decelerates
before point A, the UAV withdraws the alarm
status and initializes the scheme as mentioned in
Section 2.3. When the target resides at A, the
UAV keeps in M1 and loiters over the target.
As the target restarts to move forward, the UAV
moves correspondingly, and when the inequality

(1) changes direction, the transition happens after


B. Since the alarm is posed concurrently, the transition is completed after the alarm handling and
then the UAV will chase after the target in M0 .
In this scenario, even if the velocity of the target
varies dramatically from zero up to the lower
boundary of the UAV, our UAV can maintain
tight tracking of the target.
Case 2 The target moves with constant velocity
and ever-changing heading. In this case, the target
is set to proceed at a constant speed of 20 m/s but
the heading is determined by



t
= arctan 8 cos
+ .
120
In this case, the tracking trajectory is portrayed in
Fig. 8 and the target distance curve is plotted in
Fig. 9.
Due to inequality (1) not being satisfied during
the whole course, the path pattern M1 , namely,
Table 4 Target motion for case 3
OA
AB
BC
CD
DE
EF
FG

V (m/s)

(rad)

t (s)

5
5 + 2.5(t200)
30
30
30
300.5(t539)
5

0.75
0.75
0.75
0.75 0.03(t 360)
2
2
2

0200
200210
210360
360439
439539
539588
588990

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369

Fig. 10 Trajectory
generated for Case 3

whirling type, is chosen and unchanged. When


commencing to twist from east to west, the algorithm initializes the GWP but one alarm is
thrown immediately after the first GWP. The
alarm-handling mechanism catches it and drives
the UAV towards the target until the target distance gets shorter than r0 . The target distance of
this stage is portrayed by the first bold solid line in
Fig. 8. This alarm-dealing procedure will occur repeatedly in the follow-up tracking when the target
changes heading rapidly. When the target runs in
a moderate pattern, the scheme can maintain the
target in the center of the UAVs trajectory and

Fig. 11 The target


distance for Case 3

otherwise the alarm-handling technique will guide


the UAV to approach the target. This scenario is
conceived to verify that the algorithm can keep
tight tracking when the target maneuvers in terms
of the heading.
Case 3 The target moves with varying velocity
and varying heading. In this case, the target is set
to proceed along several continuous curves. The
curved segments follow the formula in Table 4.
In this case, the tracking trajectory is portrayed in
Fig. 10 and the target distance curve is plotted in
Fig. 11.

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This scenario is constructed to demonstrate


that the algorithm can track a target making intricate maneuvers. This instance is a combination
of Cases 1 and 2. Figures 10 and 11 reflect that
the algorithm remains effective in this case. It
also illustrates that the alarm is susceptible to be
raised during the transition phase and the targets
maneuvering period.
6 Conclusion
In this paper, a comprehensive algorithm for the
tracking of a ground mobile target by a fixedwing UAV is proposed. By analysis and division
of the possible path patterns, a tracking algorithm
based on GWP generation, GWP correction, and
an alarm mechanism is formulated. To acquire the
necessary parameters for the algorithm, a least
square estimator is constituted. Simulations with

three scenarios are performed, and the results


demonstrate that the algorithm can undertake the
mission with stability, reliability, and a favorable
computational budget. Aside from the features
listed in Section 1, another explicit benefit of this
method is that even if the target flies away from
the UAVs FOV occasionally, due to the independence from real-time data information, the
scheme is capable of resuming visual tracking.
Because the amount of the correction of the
GWP is transferred directly without any moderation, the correction scheme utilized is not the optimum trade-off between stability and sensitivity.
Analysis of this issue therefore will be the major
extension of this work in the future.
Acknowledgements This research work was supported
by Aviation Science Fund (grant no. 20085153015) and
NWPU Aoxiang Zhixing Fund. The authors acknowledge
the assistance of Mr. Richard Hirst, JPBH Consulting Ltd.,
UK, in proofreading the draft of this paper.

Appendix
GWP initialization scheme
M0
Gf

Gt

X
Y

T
X
Y

M1

Left

Right

Left

Right

x + r0 cos
y + r0 sin
/2
0.5t02
X + t01 vU AV cos
Y + t01 vU AV sin

t01

x + r0 cos
y + r0 sin
+ /2
0.5t02
X + t01 vU AV cos
Y + t01 vU AV sin

t01

x + r0 cos
y + r0 sin
/2
t11
X + 0.5t12 vU AV cos
Y + 0.5t12 vU AV sin

t12

x + r0 cos
y + r0 sin
+ /2
t11
X + 0.5t12 vU AV cos
Y + 0.5t12 vU AV sin

t12

The scheme is designed for the purpose to make the initialization fluent and natural. The G f steers the UAV to the
surrounding of the target and the Gt guides the UAV into proper mode
GWP generation scheme for the transition
M0 M1

M1 M0

X
Y

T
X
Y

S1

S2

S3

S4

X + (t01 + 0.5t12 )vU AV sin


Y(t01 + 0.5t12 )vU AV cos

t12
X + (t01 + 0.5t12 )vU AV
cos( )a
Y + (t01 + 0.5t12 )vU AV
sin( )

t02

X + t11 vU AV cos
Y + t11 vU AV sin
+ /2
t12
X + t01 vU AV cos

X (t01 + 0.5t12 )vU AV sin


Y + (t01 + 0.5t12 )vU AV cos

t12
X + (t01 + 0.5t12 )vU AV
cos ( )
Y + (t01 + 0.5t12 )vU AV
sin ( )

2t01

X + t11 vU AV cos
Y + t11 vU AV sin
/2
t12
X + t01 vU AV cos

Y + t01 vU AV sin
t02

Y + t01 vU AV sin

t02

The scheme is designed for the purpose to make the transition fluent and natural. When transition occurs, the destination
modes stage must match the original modes stage according to the table above
a As for the plus or minus operator, the upper is suitable for the MS and the lower is suitable for the MS
0
1

J Intell Robot Syst (2012) 68:359371

371

The ordinary GWP generation scheme


M0

M1

X
Y

T
X
Y

S1

S2

S3

S4

X + t02 vU AV cos( )
Y + t02 vU AV sin( )

t02
X t12 vUAV sin
Y t12 vU AV cos

t12

X + t01 vU AV cos
Y + t01 vU AV sin
+
t01
X t12 vU AV cos
Y t12 vU AV sin
/2
t12

X + t02 vU AV cos( + )
Y + t02 vU AV sin( + )

t02
X t12 vU AV sin
Y t12 vUAV cos

t12

X + t01 vU AV cos
Y + t01 vU AV sin

t01
X + t11 vU AV cos
Y + t11 vU AV sin
/2
t11

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