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UAV Trajectory Modeling Using Neural NetworksLarge amount of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sUAVs) are projected to operate in the near future. Potential sUAV applications include, but not limited to, search and rescue, inspection and surveillance, aerial photography and video, precision agriculture, and parcel delivery. sUAVs are expected to operate in the uncontrolled Class G airspace, which is at or below 500 feet above ground level (AGL), where many static and dynamic constraints exist, such as ground properties and terrains, restricted areas, various winds, manned helicopters, and conflict avoidance among sUAVs. How to enable safe, efficient, and massive sUAV operations at the low altitude airspace remains a great challenge. NASA's Unmanned aircraft system Traffic Management (UTM) research initiative works on establishing infrastructure and developing policies, requirement, and rules to enable safe and efficient sUAVs' operations. To achieve this goal, it is important to gain insights of future UTM traffic operations through simulations, where the accurate trajectory model plays an extremely important role. On the other hand, like what happens in current aviation development, trajectory modeling should also serve as the foundation for any advanced concepts and tools in UTM. Accurate models of sUAV dynamics and control systems are very important considering the requirement of the meter level precision in UTM operations. The vehicle dynamics are relatively easy to derive and model, however, vehicle control systems remain unknown as they are usually kept by manufactures as a part of intellectual properties. That brings challenges to trajectory modeling for sUAVs. How to model the vehicle's trajectories with unknown control system? This work proposes to use a neural network to model a vehicle's trajectory. The neural network is first trained to learn the vehicle's responses at numerous conditions. Once being fully trained, given current vehicle states, winds, and desired future trajectory, the neural network should be able to predict the vehicle's future states at next time step. A complete 4-D trajectory are then generated step by step using the trained neural network. Experiments in this work show that the neural network can approximate the sUAV's model and predict the trajectory accurately.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Xue, Min
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
November 27, 2017
Publication Date
June 5, 2017
Subject Category
Statistics And Probability
Air Transportation And Safety
Systems Analysis And Operations Research
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Aviation
Location: Denver, CO
Country: United States
Start Date: June 5, 2017
End Date: June 9, 2017
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Neural Networks
Trajectory Modeling
Trajectory prediction
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