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An online reliable local trajectory planner for quadrotors

Chunming Tong (Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China)
Zhenbao Liu (School of Civil Aviation, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China)
Wen Zhao (School of Civil Aviation, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China)
Baodong Wang (Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China)
Yao Cheng (Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering, Beijing, China)
Jingyan Wang (Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering, Beijing, China)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 8 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to propose an online local trajectory planner for safe and fast trajectory generation that combines the jerk-limited trajectory (JLT) generation algorithm and the particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm. A trajectory switching algorithm is proposed to improve the trajectory tracking performance. The proposed system generates smooth and safe flight trajectories online for quadrotors.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the PSO algorithm method can obtain the optimal set of target points near the path points obtained by the global path searching. The JLT generation algorithm generates multiple trajectories from the current position to the target points that conform to the kinetic constraints. Then, the generated multiple trajectories are evaluated to pick the obstacle-free trajectory with the least cost. A trajectory switching strategy is proposed to switch the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to a new trajectory before the UAV reaches the last hovering state of the current trajectory, so that the UAV can fly smoothly and quickly.

Findings

The feasibility of the designed system is validated through online flight experiments in indoor environments with obstacles.

Practical implications

The proposed trajectory planning system is integrated into a quadrotor platform. It is easily implementable onboard and computationally efficient.

Originality/value

The proposed local planner for trajectory generation and evaluation combines PSO and JLT generation algorithms. The proposed method can provide a collision-free and continuous trajectory, significantly reducing the required computing resources. The PSO algorithm locally searches for feasible target points near the global waypoint obtained by the global path search. The JLT generation algorithm generates trajectories from the current state toward each point contained by the target point set. The proposed trajectory switching strategy can avoid unnecessary hovering states in flight and ensure a continuous and safe flight trajectory. It is especially suitable for micro quadrotors with a small payload and limited onboard computing power.

Keywords

Citation

Tong, C., Liu, Z., Zhao, W., Wang, B., Cheng, Y. and Wang, J. (2022), "An online reliable local trajectory planner for quadrotors", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-04-2022-0106

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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