Real-Time First Order Guidance Strategies for Trajectory Optimization in UAVs by Utilizing Wind Energy

Research paper by Kamran Turkoglu

Indexed on: 23 Aug '14Published on: 23 Aug '14Published in: Mathematics - Optimization and Control


This paper presents real-time guidance strategies for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be used to enhance their flight endurance by utilizing {\sl insitu} measurements of wind speeds and wind gradients. In these strategies, periodic adjustments would be made in the airspeed and/or heading angle command for the UAV to minimize a projected power requirement at some future time. In this paper, UAV flights are described by a three-dimensional dynamic point-mass. Onboard closed-loop trajectory tracking logics that follow airspeed vector commands are modeled using the method of feedback linearization. A generic wind field model is assumed that consists of a constant term plus terms that vary sinusoidally with respect to the location. To evaluate the benefits of these strategies in enhancing UAV flight endurance, a reference strategy is introduced in which the UAV would seek to follow the desired airspeed in a steady level flight under zero wind. A performance measure is defined as the average power consumption both over a specified time interval and over different initial heading angles of the UAV. A relative benefit criterion is then defined as the percentage improvement of the performance measure of a proposed strategy over that of the reference strategy. Extensive numerical simulations are conducted. Results demonstrate the benefits and trends of power savings of the proposed real-time guidance strategies.