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Open AccessArticle

Curvature Continuous and Bounded Path Planning for Fixed-Wing UAVs

by Xiaoliang Wang 1,†, Peng Jiang 2,†, Deshi Li 1,3,*,† and Tao Sun 1
1
Electronic Information School, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
2
GNSS Research Center, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
3
Collaborative Innovation Center of Geospatial Technology, 129 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430072, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Sensors 2017, 17(9), 2155; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17092155
Received: 6 August 2017 / Revised: 3 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV or Drones for Remote Sensing Applications)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Catmull-Rom curves; continuous-curvature; curvature upper bound; local regulation; path planning; unmanned aerial vehicles Catmull-Rom curves; continuous-curvature; curvature upper bound; local regulation; path planning; unmanned aerial vehicles
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Wang, X.; Jiang, P.; Li, D.; Sun, T. Curvature Continuous and Bounded Path Planning for Fixed-Wing UAVs. Sensors 2017, 17, 2155.

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