A Fixed-Wing UAV Formation Algorithm Based on Vector Field Guidance

Ximan Wang, Simone Baldi, Xuewei Feng, Changwei Wu, Hongwei Xie, Bart De Schutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The vector field method was originally proposed to guide a single fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) towards a desired path. In this work, a non-uniform vector field method is proposed that changes in both magnitude and direction, for the purpose of achieving formations of UAVs. As compared to related work in the literature, the proposed formation control law does not need to assume absence of wind. That is, due to the effect of the wind on the UAV, one can handle the UAV air speed being different from its ground speed, and the UAV heading angle being different from its course angle. Stability of the proposed formation method is analyzed via Lyapunov stability theory, and validations are carried out in software-in-the-loop and hardware-in-the-loop comparative experiments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Feb 2022


  • Autonomous aerial vehicles
  • Autopilot
  • Computer architecture
  • Formation control
  • hardware-in-the-loop
  • Orbits
  • PX4 autopilot.
  • Standards
  • Task analysis
  • unmanned aerial vehicles
  • vector field
  • Wind speed


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