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A HEURISTIC FLIGHT PATH PLANNER FOR A SMALL UAV ATTEMPTING TO FIND A SINGLE TARGET IN MINIMUM TIME

by BALAPA, MANOHAR

Abstract (Summary)
The work presented here is a part of ongoing research into flight path planning for autonomous fixed wing aircraft. The problem of a single Unmanned Aerial Vehicle attempting to find a single stationary target in minimum time is examined. The problem is tailored to a specific type of UAV i.e. a low cost high maneuverability propeller driven fixed wing aircraft of wingspan 2-20 meters. The objective area to be searched for the target is split into cells the size of the area occupied by the target and occupancy probabilities for each cell are assigned. A methodology for extending the problem to the case of a target that moves but is constrained to move only in the objective area is presented. The search problem is set up as an infinite horizon optimization problem. The problem is converted to a finite horizon shortest path problem. The NP hard shortest path problem is then solved using a two step look ahead heuristic algorithm, which ultimately yields an approximately optimal solution of the search problem itself. Finally simulation results are presented which show the heuristic algorithm generated path’s efficacy compared to a zigzag path and a path generated by a greedy algorithm.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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