Technical Brief

Ground Target Tracking Guidance Law for Fixed-Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: A Search and Capture Approach

[+] Author and Article Information
Min Zhang

College of Automation Engineering,
Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics,
29 Jiangjundadao Street,
Nanjing 211106, China
e-mail: zhangmin@nuaa.edu.cn

Pengfei Tian, Xin Chen, Xin Wang

College of Automation Engineering,
Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics,
29 Jiangjundadao Street,
Nanjing 211106, China

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Dynamic Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS, MEASUREMENT, AND CONTROL. Manuscript received June 12, 2016; final manuscript received April 6, 2017; published online June 28, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Dejan Milutinovic.

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 139(10), 104503 (Jun 28, 2017) (6 pages) Paper No: DS-16-1309; doi: 10.1115/1.4036563 History: Received June 12, 2016; Revised April 06, 2017

One important problem for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in mission applications is to track ground targets automatically. A major concern is how to keep the tracking process stable and efficient while the motion of the ground targets changes rapidly. In this brief, a new guidance strategy for the ground target “Search and Capture” based on a virtual target is proposed. First, a virtual trajectory, which is composed of straight lines and arcs, is generated based on the motion of the target. The straight lines are used to capture, while the arcs are used to search, and switch between straight line and arc when some condition is met; second, we design a new guidance law based on line-of-sight (LOS) which makes a UAV to track the virtual target automatically. This new method solves the following three problems simultaneously: (1) The UAV always keeps a constant speed to track the target with changing velocity, (2) the generated trajectory meets the flight constraints of the UAV, and (3) the speed range of the ground target can be from the stationary to almost the maximum cruising speed of the UAV. Simulation results show that the proposed guidance strategy can achieve stable tracking for various motions of the ground target.

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Fig. 1

UAV–virtual target–target relative geometry

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Fig. 2

Design of straight line segment

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Fig. 3

Design of arc segment

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Fig. 4

UAV trajectories (case 1)

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Fig. 5

UAV trajectories (case 2)

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Fig. 6

UAV trajectories (case 3)

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Fig. 7

UAV trajectories (case 4)

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Fig. 8

UAV trajectories (case 5)

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Fig. 9

Target speed profile

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Fig. 10

UAV trajectories (case 6)



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