Controlling swarm complexity: A management by objective approach
Applications of drones have been rapidly changing during the last years. The driver in development of drone systems in the past was the military. This changed due to the fast technological progress of drone systems in the private sector as well as the industrial market. Sinking costs, progressive miniaturization, functional enlargement and increasing performance and usability are key enabler for practical realization of previously only theoretical civil and military exertions. RD is currently developing systems-of-systems, grouping drones into swarms to solve or execute mostly non-complex tasks cooperatively to demonstrate feasibility with respect to pre-defined scenarios. The used mission management and control systems are often rudimental, non-dynamic and designed to serve only the corresponding scenarios. For real world applications of drone systems operating in cooperative groups this is insufficient, as flexible control mechanisms with respect to changing environments or mission targets are missing. This work addresses mission management and control as the central executing and overarching system glue, rendering effective and efficient application of drone swarms possible in the first place. Requirements to the command and control station, the operator as human in the loop and the assigned assets are investigated and consolidated into a novel approach. The system centric view is neglected in favour of a paradigm shift to macro control by introducing the »management by objective» approach based on prior work. The focus of mission control by the operator is moved from system-oriented control to a goal-oriented control focusing on results provided by the executing assets.