A continuous local motion planning framework for unmanned vehicles in complex environments

Andrew Berry, Jeremy Howitt, Da-Wei Gu, Ian Postlethwaite

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    As the complexity of an unmanned vehicle’s operational environment increases so does the need to consider the obstacle space continually, and this is aided by splitting the motion planning functionality into distinct global and local layers. This paper presents a new continuous local motion planning framework, where the output and control space elements of the traditional receding horizon control problem are separated into distinct layers. This separation reduces the complexity of the local motion trajectory optimisation, enabling faster design and increased horizon length. The focus of this paper is on the output space component of this framework. Bezier polynomial functions are used to describe local motion trajectories which are constrained to vehicle performance limits and optimised to track a global trajectory. Development and testing is in simulation, targeted at a nonlinear model of a quadrotor unmanned air vehicle. The defined framework is used to provide situation-aware tracking of a global trajectory in the presence of static and dynamic obstacles, as well as realistic turbulence and gusts. Also demonstrated is the immediate-term decentralised deconfliction of multiple unmanned vehicles, and multiple formations of unmanned vehicles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)477-494
    JournalJournal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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