Wind Field Estimation, Exploitation and Guidance for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly used in the fields of data collection, surveillance, and search and rescue missions. For many UAVs, knowledge of the instantaneous wind speed and direction and overall wind field are of interest, as this knowledge can help better control the position and orientation of the UAV in heavy wind. In addition, knowledge of the wind field can be used to prolong flight times and improve the efficiency of flight of the UAV, by planning paths for the UAV to follow that exploit the wind and harvest energy from it. The proposed research deals with the estimation of the instantaneous wind speed and direction and overall wind field, and the use of these estimates to design guidance laws for the UAV that mitigate the effects of wind. In addition, the proposed research deals with improving energy-efficient path planning algorithms to lead to improved flight performance.