UAV search & capture of a moving ground target under delayed information
The optimal control of a UAV searching for a slower moving ground target on a road network is considered. To aid the UAV, the road network has been instrumented with Unattended Ground Sensors (UGSs). The target/intruder heads towards a protected goal region, oblivious of being tracked by the UAV. Whenever the intruder reaches an intersection in the road network, we assume that he randomly chooses his future course of action. The UGSs are placed at all the road junctions and are triggered when the intruder passes by. When the UAV arrives at an UGS, the UGS informs the UAV if and when the intruder passed by. The UAV does not have on-board capability to detect and identify the intruder and therefore must investigate the UGSs to learn the intruder's location. When the intruder and the UAV are at an UGS location at the same time, the UGS is triggered and this information is instantly relayed to the UAV, which snaps a picture, thereby “capturing” the intruder. Sufficient conditions for guaranteed capture of the intruder, before he reaches the goal, and the corresponding UAV control policy, that leads to capture, are provided.