Journal of Systems Engineering and Electronics ›› 2020, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (6): 1297-1307.doi: 10.23919/JSEE.2020.000100

• CONTROL THEORY AND APPLICATION • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Distributed cooperative control of autonomous multi-agent UAV systems using smooth control

Kada BELKACEM1,*(), Khalid MUNAWAR2(), Shafique Shaikh MUHAMMAD2()   

  1. 1 Department of Aerospace Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
    2 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
  • Received:2019-11-20 Online:2020-12-18 Published:2020-12-29
  • Contact: Kada BELKACEM;;
  • About author:|BELKACEM Kada received his B. E. and M. S. degrees from USTO University, Oran, Algeria and Ph. D. degree from Laval University, Quebec, Canada, in 1992, 1998, and 2006, respectively, all in mechanical engineering. From 1993 to 2000, he was a lecturer at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mascara University, Algeria. Since 2008, he has been with the Department of Aerospace Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, where he is currently an associate professor, and director of the Aerospace Control Laboratory and the Autonomous Vehicles Center of Research. His current research interests include aerospace control systems, autonomous multi-agent systems, and industrial automation. E-mail:||MUNAWAR Khalid is a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. He received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan in 1992, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aeronautics and space engineering from Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan in 1997 and 2000. He worked as an assistant professor at Tohoku University before moving to the National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan in 2002. Then he moved to King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia in 2012. His research interests include control systems, industrial automation, unmanned and autonomous systems, and navigation and control. E-mail:||MUHAMMAD Shafique Shaikh received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electronics and computer technology from University of Sind, Pakistan, in 1983 and 1984, respectively. He received his M.E. degree in computer science and systems engineering, and D.E. degree in information and production systems engineering, from Muroran Institute of Technology, Hokkaido, Japan, in 1999 and 2002, respectively. Currently, he is working as an assistant professor in Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. His research interests include digital signal/image processing, digital image security, neural networks, satellite engineering, and computer and control engineering. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    This work was supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research (DSR) at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah (G-363-135-1438)


This paper addresses the cooperative control problem of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (multi-UAV) systems. First, a new distributed consensus algorithm for second-order nonlinear multi-agent systems (MAS) is formulated under the leader-following approach. The algorithm provides smooth input signals to the agents’ control channels, which avoids the chattering effect generated by the conventional sliding mode-based control protocols. Second, a new formation control scheme is developed by integrating smooth distributed consensus control protocols into the geometric pattern model to achieve three-dimensional formation tracking. The Lyapunov theory is used to prove the stability and convergence of both distributed consensus and formation controllers. The effectiveness of the proposed algorithms is demonstrated through simulation results.

Key words: cooperative control, distributed consensus, three-dimensional formation control, multiple-UAV system