A major characteristic of combat is the need to quickly adapt to new situations. Providing support and protection for a convoy is challenging since it requires coordination between the diferent participants to eciently allocate the protecting resources. In a combat situation, such as when the convoy is under attack, forces have no spare time to spend. Every second is extremely valuable, and context switching between different tasks is not desirable. Moreover, decision making in a stressful situation, such as combat, tends to be far from ecient. Another aspect that is central to distributed combat is the requirement to keep communication usage as low as possible so that the adversary cannot apply electronic warfare technologies to intercept messages and introduce interference that would disallow distributed collaboration. Another reason is that by reducing the amount of unmanned air vehicle (UAV) communication we provide more reliable communication bandwidth for urgent needs.
We propose innovative use of teams of small and inexpensive UAVs to autonomously allocate convoy protection tasks and robustly adapt their behavior to the changing environment. We envision a dynamically self-organized protective shield based on large-scale multiagent concepts. Each UAV will be controlled by an onboard agent that will sense, reason, and act autonomously according to the changing environment. Communication will be done by observation of the behavior of other UAVs and convoy vehicles rather than by message exchange. To support scalability, many large-scale multiagent paradigms suggest interacting with only a limited number of agents. Those agents should be carefully selected to provide an ecient and valuable solution. In this work we use concepts inspired by the Reynolds algorithm and physics-based theories. Each agent in our scalable solution is capable of reasoning about the behavior of some UAV agents and some vehicles that are part of the protective convoy. A range of interaction is introduced to construct a closed area in which any other UAV or convoy vehicle is notable by the agent. To provide further exibility and more general applicability, we allow separate interaction ranges for agent-UAV and agent-convoy vehicles.
Convoy Protection by Self-Organized Teams of UAVs
Osher Yadgar


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