Special Issue on Recent trends in flocking control and communication
for Unmanned vehicles.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV)
allow operators to perform various critical missions without human
crew on board. Their popularity has been growing for monitoring,
inspection and mapping of geographic areas, also due to the recent
appearance in the market of small, low cost vehicles as multirotors
(the so-called “drones”), that provide high performance and are
equipped with low-cost sensors and control boards, as well as high
capacity batteries. Such Unmanned Vehicles (UMVs) can be controlled
remotely or can move autonomously, gather data by suitable sensors
(e.g. cameras, thermographic sensors, laser-scanners, etc.), and they
are provided with proper communication modules that allow them to
exchange data with peers and/or send data to some base stations.
The use of multiple Unmanned Vehicles (UMVs) organized into a team
(e.g. flock or swarm) has become an established practice that allows
engineers to reduce mission times and improve fault-tolerance, as a
single vehicle can be easily replaced by one of its ``neighbours’’.
Therefore, designing appropriate control models holding some desired
properties, such as robustness, efficiency, and stability, is nowadays
crucial for a growing number of applications. A control model shows a
certain level of robustness when the team does to not incur in
particular undesired events under certain conditions (e.g. collisions
caused by wind or stall due to obstacles at a certain positions). A
control model shows efficiency if it leads the flock to perform the
activity with the lowest amount of energy, while it is proved to be
stable if it does not lead the team to show undesired emergent
behaviours during the mission (such as flock partitioning).
Focus of the Special Issue:
This special issue will be of interest to a broad community of both
scientists (from many disciplines like Computer Science, Electrical
Engineering and Control Systems to name a few) as well as
practitioners from the industry and institutions because it aims at
providing a unified platform for understanding limitations and
potentialities in current systems to control UMVs. In order to
highlight the interest around the topic, it could be mentioned that
the research program launched in 2015 the U.S. Office of Naval
Research, named LOCUST (Low-Cost Unmanned aerial vehicle Swarming
Technology), that relies on “information-sharing between the UAVs,
autonomous collaborative behavior in either defensive or offensive
Despite recent advancements in the design and implementation of UMVs,
many relevant questions of huge practical impact -- including the
design of optimal control systems for UMVs, the implementation of
efficient communication and coordination protocols, the optimisation
for power consumption and weight, the safety aspects for both humans
and vehicle themselves, the applicability of existing solutions to an
ever increasing range of domains -- are left unanswered. This special
issue may attract experts from many areas to deal with (and provide)
original and innovative solutions to the scientific questions we
Authors are invited to submit outstanding and original unpublished
research manuscripts focused on important requirements such as
efficiency, fault-tolerance, stability and robustness and UAV/UGV
communication network approaches that would adapt to high mobility,
dynamic topology and power constraints. Moreover, contributions
concerning learning process for adaptive control and swarm
intelligence in general are also welcome. The issue will also
emphasize the presentation of innovative aspects related to the design
of suitable control models for collective behavior of unmanned
vehicles under certain constraints -- e.g. specific vehicles -- or
particular requirements emerging from certain environmental
conditions. Both theoretical and experimental aspects are welcome.
The topics of interest are:
● Studies, surveys and reports about novel solutions for UAV/UGV
communication networks and routing protocols.
● Green networking for UAV/UGV.
● Design of mobility-induced sensors and network protocols.
● Solutions to improve robustness on high dynamic and networks of UAV/UGV.
● Middlewares for interoperability and integration of subsystems and
control algorithms on UAV/UGV.
● Mobility-tolerant sensors aggregation and virtual sensing.
● Design of new devices, hardware components and models for UAV/UGV.
● Optimality for data capture and processing.
● Security on UAV/UGV.
● Models, architectures and case studies about Fog Computing support
for team of UAV/UGV.
● Control models for collective behaviours of UAV/UGV.
● Fault-tolerance and scalability for behavioural models of UAV and UGV.
** Submission of manuscript: August 6, 2018 **
First notification: October 3, 2018
Submission of revised manuscript: December 5, 2018
Notification of the re-review: January 26, 2019
Final notification: March 7, 2019
Final paper due: March 31, 2019
Publication date: July 2019
● Dr. Fabrizio Messina, Department of Mathematics and Informatics,
University of Catania, Italy. [hidden email]
● Prof. Pasquale De Meo, Department of Ancient and Modern
Civilizations, University of Messina, Messina, Italy. [hidden email]
● Prof. Thanos Vasilakos, Department of Computer Science, Electrical
and Space Engineering, Lulea University of Technology (LTU), Sweden
Fabrizio Messina, Ph.D.
Department of Mathematics and Informatics
University of Catania (Italy)
PEC: [hidden email]
* Managing Editor of IJGUC (
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