Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) play an important role in applications such as data collection and target reconnaissance. An accurate and optimal path can effectively increase the mission success rate in the case of small UAVs. Although path planning for UAVs is similar to that for traditional mobile robots, the special kinematic characteristics of UAVs (such as their minimum turning radius) have not been taken into account in previous studies. In this paper, we propose a locally-adjustable, continuous-curvature, bounded path-planning algorithm for fixed-wing UAVs. To deal with the curvature discontinuity problem, an optimal interpolation algorithm and a key-point shift algorithm are proposed based on the derivation of a curvature continuity condition. To meet the upper bound for curvature and to render the curvature extrema controllable, a local replanning scheme is designed by combining arcs and Bezier curves with monotonic curvature. In particular, a path transition mechanism is built for the replanning phase using minimum curvature circles for a planning philosophy. Numerical results demonstrate that the analytical planning algorithm can effectively generate continuous-curvature paths, while satisfying the curvature upper bound constraint and allowing UAVs to pass through all predefined waypoints in the desired mission region.
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