TitleEfficient Unmanned Aerial Systems Navigation With Collision Avoidance in Dense Urban Environments
Publication TypeJournal Articles
AuthorsBertram, J., J. Zambreno, and P. Wei
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems (T-ITS)
Date PublishedAugust

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are an emerging type of airborne traffic under active research expected to carry cargo and passengers in the future over dense population centers. One challenge is identifying algorithms which can compactly represent and navigate the available airspace while avoiding conflict with buildings and other UAS. In this paper, we explore a decentralized method coupling a medial axis graph for global navigation through the city with local collision avoidance of buildings and other UAS to obtain collision-free efficient navigation through an urban environment. We study trade-offs of using Optimal Reciprocal Collision Avoidance (ORCA), Rapidly-exploring Random Trees (RRT and RRT*), and Fast Markov Decision Process (FastMDP) as the collision avoidance algorithms. We examine low-altitude UAS navigating through a portion of New York City dense with skyscrapers to study the effectiveness of the algorithms in a challenging environment. We show that ORCA, RRT, RRT*, and FastMDP all are fairly efficient for 2D problems, but as the problem becomes more realistic (3D, constrained motion, aware of other UAS), FastMDP provides the best overall performance among the four algorithms studied.

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