Dispatching and loitering policies for unmanned aerial vehicles under dynamically arriving multiple priority targets
Bednowitz, Noah H.
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The dynamic nature and growing size of UAV systems demands quick methods for effective task allocation and routing of UAVs in reaction to arriving targets. Positioning of UAVs in a mission space while idle and not servicing or being routed to a task should also be optimized. The importance of targets, along with the timeliness of completing their tasks determines how effective a system is performing. This thesis examines a system with multiple UAVs assigned to respond to fixed-location, multiple-priority targets requiring reconnaissance tasks. Only probabilistic knowledge about the mission space exists for anticipating future target locations. Dispatching rules and loitering strategies are implemented to insure rapid service for high priority targets and effective management of medium priority levels. A weighted reward for servicing targets is used to evaluate performance. This thesis discusses the design of a study of multiple dispatching rules and loitering strategy combinations under varying conditions of: region size, on-scene service rate, arrival rate, and target priority level. Through simulation, the best decision policy and loitering policy combinations are found. The decision policy with the look-ahead and distance-based dispatching rules created the greatest benefit, when implemented with the loitering policy based on arrival location probabilities with continual consideration of busy UAVs future availability.