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This paper formulates two stochastic optimal control problems to determine optimal glider flight management decisions that include a time-varying selection of glider ground speed and an amount of time to spend climbing in a randomly encountered thermal. In the first problem, the objective is to maximize the expected glider range while maintaining glider altitude within given limits. In the second problem, the objective is to maximize the expected range in which the glider is able to follow a moving ground vehicle within a prescribed distance while maintaining glider altitude within given limits. Both problems are treated using stochastic drift counteraction optimal control. Simulation results are reported and discussed. The work has application to glider flight performance improvement, and to noiseless surveillance by unmanned air vehicles.
American Control Conference (ACC), 2011
Date of Conference: June 29 2011-July 1 2011