A sensor-driven analysis of distributed direction finding systems based on UAV swarms

Zhong Chen, Shihyuan Yeh, Jean Francois Chamberland, Gregory H. Huff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This paper reports on the research of factors that impact the accuracy and efficiency of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based radio frequency (RF) and microwave data collection system. The swarming UAVs (agents) can be utilized to create micro-UAV swarm-based (MUSB) aperiodic antenna arrays that reduce angle ambiguity and improve convergence in sub-space direction-of-arrival (DOA) techniques. A mathematical data model is addressed in this paper to demonstrate fundamental properties of MUSB antenna arrays and study the performance of the data collection system framework. The Cramer–Rao bound (CRB) associated with two-dimensional (2D) DOAs of sources in the presence of sensor gain and phase coefficient is derived. The single-source case is studied in detail. The vector-space of emitters is exploited and the iterative-MUSIC (multiple signal classification) algorithm is created to estimate 2D DOAs of emitters. Numerical examples and practical measurements are provided to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed MUSB data collection system framework using iterative-MUSIC algorithm and benchmark theoretical expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2659
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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