Mechanical Engineering Graduate Seminar: Venanzio Cichella

Nov 8, 2018

03:30 PM - 04:20 PM

3505 Seamans Center

3131 Seamans Center, Iowa City, IA 52242

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Cooperative Planning and Control for Multiple UAV Missions

Presented by Venanzio Cichella, Ph.D

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

University of Iowa


ABSTRACT: The urgent need to integrate Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) into the national airspace requires that these vehicles possess high levels of autonomy and are capable of executing complex missions in a safe, reliable manner. A large subset of these missions requires that UAVs arrive at their final destinations either at the same time or separated by pre-defined time intervals.

The first part of the talk will introduce many examples of such missions and will proceed to discuss in some detail the technologies involved.  A representative example includes the challenging mission scenario where the vehicles are tasked to cooperatively execute collision-free maneuvers and arrive at their ?nal destinations at the same time (time-critical operations). In the setup adopted, a motion planning algorithm generates – (near) real-time – nominal optimal trajectories that satisfy inter-vehicle safety constraints and mission specific requirements. Then, these trajectories are appropriately re-parameterized and the vehicles are requested to execute cooperative path following, rather than “open loop” trajectory tracking maneuvers. This strategy yields robust behavior against external disturbances by allowing the vehicles to negotiate their speeds along the paths in response to information exchanged over the dynamic inter-vehicle communications network.

The talk addresses explicitly the situation where each vehicle transmits its coordination information to only a subset of the other vehicles, as determined by the communications topology. Furthermore, we consider the case where the communication graph that captures the underlying communications topology is disconnected during some interval of time or even fails to be connected at all times. Conditions are given under which the complete time-critical cooperative planning and control closed-loop system is stable and yields convergence of a conveniently de?ned cooperation error to a neighborhood of the origin. Numerical and flight test results demonstrate the e?cacy of the multi-UAV cooperative planning and control framework presented in this talk.


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Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at