Multi-UAV trajectory planning for 3D visual inspection of complex structures

Stefan Ivić, Bojan Crnković, Luka Grbčić, Lea Matleković*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The application of autonomous UAVs to infrastructure inspection tasks provides benefits in terms of operation time reduction, safety, and cost-effectiveness. This paper presents trajectory planning for three-dimensional autonomous multi-UAV volume coverage and visual inspection of infrastructure based on the Heat Equation Driven Area Coverage (HEDAC) algorithm. The method generates trajectories using a potential field and implements distance fields to prevent collisions and to determine UAVs’ camera orientation. It successfully achieves coverage during the visual inspection of complex structures such as a wind turbine and a bridge, outperforming a state-of-the-art method by allowing more surface area to be inspected under the same conditions. The presented trajectory planning method offers flexibility in various setup parameters and is applicable to real-world inspection tasks. Conclusively, the proposed methodology could potentially be applied to different autonomous UAV tasks, or even utilized as a UAV motion control method if its computational efficiency is improved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104709
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • 3D domain
  • Autonomous UAVs
  • Coverage
  • CPP
  • Inspection
  • Trajectory planning


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