Leveraging Computational Fluid Dynamics in UAV Motion Planning

    •  Huang, Y., Greiff, M., Vinod, A.P., Di Cairano, S., "Leveraging Computational Fluid Dynamics in UAV Motion Planning", American Control Conference (ACC), July 2024.
      BibTeX TR2024-050 PDF Video
      • @inproceedings{Huang2024jul,
      • author = {Huang, Yunshen and Greiff, Marcus and Vinod, Abraham P. and Di Cairano, Stefano}},
      • title = {Leveraging Computational Fluid Dynamics in UAV Motion Planning},
      • booktitle = {American Control Conference (ACC)},
      • year = 2024,
      • month = jul,
      • url = {}
      • }
  • MERL Contacts:
  • Research Areas:

    Control, Dynamical Systems, Optimization


We propose a motion planner for quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in windy environments, where the motion is defined by a sequence of Bézier curves in the flat output space of the UAV. The real-time implementable planner incorporates wind information from high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics simulations performed offline and utilizes convexity properties of Bézier curves to enable real-time implementations. For this purpose, we: (i) identify a model for the UAV-wind interaction; (ii) use the OpenFoam software to compute a model of the wind speeds subject to world geometry and boundary conditions; (iii) describe a method for regressing this wind model into a more compact representation; and finally (iv) demonstrate how this representation is amenable to minimum-snap motion planning of quad-rotor UAVs in realistic environments. We validate our approach using simulations and hardware experiments, and show a significant improvement in the thrust used by the UAV in presence of strong winds.


  • Related Video