Obstacle avoidance for unmanned aerial vehicles

Gonçalo Charters Santos Cruz, Pedro Miguel Martins Encarnação

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This work is framed within the PITVANT project and aims to contribute to the development of obstacle avoidance techniques for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The paper describes the design, implementation and experimental evaluation of a potential field obstacle avoidance algorithm based on the fluid mechanics panel methods. Obstacles and the UAV goal position are modeled by harmonic functions thus avoiding the presence of local minima. Adaptations are made to apply the method to the automatic control of a fixed wing aircraft, relying only on a local map of the environment that is updated with information from sensors onboard the aircraft. Hardware-In-Loop simulations show the good performance of the proposed algorithm in the envisioned mission scenarios for the PITVANT vehicles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 203-217
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Obstacle avoidance
  • UAV
  • Guidance and control of autonomous vehicles


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