In this paper, we study the deployment of $K$ heterogeneous UAVs to monitor Points of Interest (PoIs) in a disaster zone, where a PoI may represent a school building or an office building, in which people are trapped. A UAV can take images/videos of PoIs and send its collected information back to a nearby rescue station for decision-making. Unlike most existing studies that focused on only homogeneous UAVs, we here study the scheduling of $K$ heterogeneous UAVs, where different UAVs have different energy capacities and functionalities that lead to different monitoring qualities (monitoring rewards) of each PoI. For example, one type of UAVs can take only visual images while the other type of UAVs can take both visual and thermal infrared images. In this paper, we investigate a problem of scheduling $K$ heterogeneous UAVs to monitor PoIs so that the sum of monitoring rewards received by all UAVs is maximized, subject to energy capacity on each UAV. We propose the very first $\frac{1}{3}$ -approximation algorithm for this scheduling problem. We also evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithm, using real parameters of commercial UAVs. Experimental results show that the performance of the proposed algorithm is promising, which is improved by 25%, compared with existing algorithms.


Computer Science

Publication Status

Early Access

Keywords and Phrases

approximation algorithm; Disaster area monitoring; heterogeneous UAVs; multiple UAV scheduling; orienteering problem

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1558-2566; 1063-6692

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2023 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2023