The AutoSOAR autonomous soaring aircraft, part 1

Autonomy algorithms

Nathan T. Depenbusch, John J. Bird, Jacob Willem Langelaan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Autonomous soaring has the potential to greatly improve both the range and endurance of small robotic aircraft. This paper describes an autonomous soaring system that generates a dynamic map of lift sources (thermals) in the environment and uses this map for online flight planning and decision making. Components of the autonomy algorithm include thermal mapping, explore/exploit decision making, navigation, optimal airspeed computation, thermal centering control, and energy state estimation. A finite state machine manages the aircraft behavior during flight and determines when changing behavior is appropriate. A complete system to enable autonomous soaring is described with special attention paid to practical considerations encountered during flight testing. A companion paper describes the hardware implementation of this system and the results of a flight test campaign conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground in September 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-889
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Field Robotics
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

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Aircraft
Decision making
Finite automata
State estimation
Electron energy levels
Navigation
Robotics
Durability
Hardware
Planning
Testing
Hot Temperature

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this

Depenbusch, Nathan T. ; Bird, John J. ; Langelaan, Jacob Willem. / The AutoSOAR autonomous soaring aircraft, part 1 : Autonomy algorithms. In: Journal of Field Robotics. 2018 ; Vol. 35, No. 6. pp. 868-889.
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The AutoSOAR autonomous soaring aircraft, part 1 : Autonomy algorithms. / Depenbusch, Nathan T.; Bird, John J.; Langelaan, Jacob Willem.

In: Journal of Field Robotics, Vol. 35, No. 6, 01.09.2018, p. 868-889.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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