Flight plan specification and management for unmanned aircraft systems
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This paper presents a new concept for specifying Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flight operations that aims at improving the waypoint based approach, found in most autopilot systems, by providing higher level fligh plan specification primitives. The proposed method borrows the leg and path terminator concepts used in Area Navigation1 (RNAV). Several RNAV leg types are adopted and extended with new ones for a better adaptation to UAS requirements. Extensions include the addition of control constructs that enable repetitive and conditional behavior, and also parametric legs that can be used to generate complex paths from a reduced number of parameters. The paper also covers the design and implementation of a software component that manages execution of the flight plan. To take advantage of current off-the-shelf flight control systems the constructs included in the flight plan are translated to waypoint navigation commands. In this way, the advanced capabilities provided by the flight plan specification language are implemented as a new layer on top of existing technologies. The benefits and the feasibility of the proposed approach for UAS flight plan management are demonstrated by means of a simulated mission that performs the flight inspection of Radio Navigation Aids.
CitationSantamaria, E. [et al.]. Flight plan specification and management for unmanned aircraft systems. "Journal of intelligent and robotic systems", Juliol 2012, vol. 67, núm. 2, p. 155-181.
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