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An evolutionary algorithm based framework, a combination of modified breeder genetic algorithms incorporating characteristics of classic genetic algorithms, is utilized to design an offline/online path planner for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) autonomous navigation. The path planner calculates a curved path line with desired characteristics in a three-dimensional (3-D) rough terrain environment, represented using B-spline curves, with the coordinates of its control points being the evolutionary algorithm artificial chromosome genes. Given a 3-D rough environment and assuming flight envelope restrictions, two problems are solved: i) UAV navigation using an offline planner in a known environment, and, ii) UAV navigation using an online planner in a completely unknown environment. The offline planner produces a single B-Spline curve that connects the starting and target points with a predefined initial direction. The online planner, based on the offline one, is given on-board radar readings which gradually produces a smooth 3-D trajectory aiming at reaching a predetermined target in an unknown environment; the produced trajectory consists of smaller B-spline curves smoothly connected with each other. Both planners have been tested under different scenarios, and they have been proven effective in guiding an UAV to its final destination, providing near-optimal curved paths quickly and efficiently.
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:33 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2003