Title page for ETD etd-12232010-222114

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Balasubramanian, Balasundar
URN etd-12232010-222114
Title A new guidance trajectory generation algorithm for unmanned systems incorporating vehicle dynamics and constraints
Degree Master of Science
Department Electrical and Computer Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Stilwell, Daniel J. Committee Chair
Baumann, William T. Committee Member
Woolsey, Craig A. Committee Member
  • path planning
  • guidance
  • trajectory generation
  • unmanned vehicles
  • receding horizon control
Date of Defense 2010-12-07
Availability unrestricted
We present a new trajectory generation algorithm for autonomous guidance and control of

unmanned vehicles from a given starting point to a given target location. We build and

update incomplete a priori maps of the operating environment in real time using onboard

sensors and compute level sets on the map reflecting the minimal cost of traversal from the

current vehicle location to the goal. We convert the trajectory generation problem into a

finite-time-horizon optimal control problem using the computed level sets as terminal costs

in a receding horizon framework and transform it into a simpler nonlinear programming

problem by discretization of the candidate control and state histories. We ensure feasibility

of the generated trajectories by constraining the solution of the optimization problem using a

simplified vehicle model. We provide strong performance guarantees by checking for stability

of the algorithm through the test of matching conditions at the end of each iteration. The

algorithm thus explicitly incorporates the vehicle dynamics and constraints and generates

trajectories realizable by the vehicle in the field. Successful preliminary field demonstrations

and complete simulation results for a marine unmanned surface vehicle demonstrate

the efficacy of the proposed approach for fast operations in poorly characterized riverine


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