Doherty, Patrick, Heintz, Fredrik and Kvarnström, Jonas (2013) High-Level Mission Specification and Planning for Collaborative Unmanned Aircraft Systems Using Delegation. Unmanned Systems, 1 (1). pp. 75-119. ISSN 2301-3850

Automated specification, generation and execution of high level missions involving one or more heterogeneous unmanned aircraft systems is in its infancy. Much previous effort has been focused on the development of air vehicle platforms themselves together with the avionics and sensor subsystems that implement basic navigational skills. In order to increase the degree of autonomy in such systems so they can successfully participate in more complex mission scenarios such as those considered in emergency rescue that also include ongoing interactions with human operators, new architectural components and functionalities will be required to aid not only human operators in mission planning, but also the unmanned aircraft systems themselves in the automatic generation, execution and partial verification of mission plans to achieve mission goals. This article proposes a formal framework and architecture based on the unifying concept of delegation that can be used for the automated specification, generation and execution of high-level collaborative missions involving one or more air vehicles platforms and human operators. We describe an agent-based software architecture, a temporal logic-based mission specification language, a distributed temporal planner and a task specification language that when integrated provide a basis for the generation, instantiation and execution of complex collaborative missions on heterogeneous air vehicle systems. A prototype of the framework is operational in a number of autonomous unmanned aircraft systems developed in our research lab.

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