Path Planning for a UAV in an Agricultural Environment to Tour and Cover Multiple Neighborhoods


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Virginia Tech


This work focuses on path planning for an autonomous UAV to tour and cover multiple regions in the shortest time. The three challenges to be solved are - finding the right optimal order to tour the neighborhoods, determining entry and exit points to neighborhoods, and covering each neighborhood. Two approaches have been explored and compared to achieve this goal - a TSP - Greedy and TSP - Dijkstra's. Both of them use a TSP solution to determine the optimal order of touring. They also use the same back and forth motion to cover each region. However, while the first approach uses a brute force to determine the the next closest node of entry or exit, the second approach utilizes the Dijkstra's algorithm to compute all possible paths to every node in the graph, and therefore choose the shortest pairs of entry and exit for each region, that would generate the shorter path, overall. The main contribution of this work is to implement an existing algorithm to combine the touring and covering problem, and propose a new algorithm to perform the same. Empirical results comparing performances of both approaches are included. Hardware experiments are performed on a spraying hexacopter, using the TSP - Greedy approach. Unique system characteristics are studied to make conclusions about stability of the platform. Future directions are identified to improve both software and hardware performance.



Path Planning, Robotics, Drone aircraft, Crop Spraying, Agriculture, TSP, DIjkstra, Coverage path planning, Shortest-time, Touring, Arc-Routing