UAV Flight Mission Planning
Path planning has been an important topic of research in many areas including robotics and navigation. It provides the agent with a collision-free and optimised route through space. Here, we address path planning in the context of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles where it is used for flight navigation to avoid potential weather hazards, radar detection and sudden threats.
UAV Flight Mission Planning presents an application that simulates scenarios that employs global 3D maps, weather conditions and intelligence data. This is used in developing UAV navigation trajectories while optimising for fuel and leg times and geodetic positioning of enemy radars.
This application includes Systems Toolkit (visual software tool) to simulate and depict mission plans in a realistic environment. It also includes MATLAB scripts to automate the computations associated with mission planning. MATLAB was used because it allows us to easily carry out and visualize computations. The A* algorithm is used to optimize the mission route by generating the shortest path through a set of enemy radar sites of known location. It also provides an intuitive way to account for storm patches, weather conditions and fuel constraints by using heuristics.