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Motion Planning with Fixed-Wing UAVs

Article Keywords
Autonomous Systems
High-Speed Navigation
Fixed-Wing Aircraft

Fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer significant performance advantages over rotary-wing UAVs in terms of speed, endurance, and efficiency. However, these vehicles have traditionally been severely limited when it comes to maneuverability.  By leveraging full-state direct trajectory optimization with a nonlinear aircraft model, researchers at Johns Hopkins APL are able to perform aggressive maneuvers with high angles-of-attack, even ones planned in realtime.  This approach enables high-speed navigation of complex environments by vehicles with large state spaces, nonlinear dynamics, and actuator constraints, all while operating on-the-fly.