Numerical Verification of Asymptotic Dynamic Soaring Control Strategy

Open Access
Li, Zhenda Zi
Area of Honors:
Aerospace Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jacob Willem Langelaan, Thesis Supervisor
  • Cengiz Camci, Honors Advisor
  • control
  • trajectory optimization
  • dynamic soaring
This thesis discusses and verifies a control strategy to achieve autonomous dynamic soaring for small fixed wing aircraft in numerical simulation. Dynamic soaring is a bio-inspired flight technique that allows an aerial vehicle to fly without engine power. With proper flight maneuver, the vehicle is able to convert wind energy to kinetic energy. A numerical simulation for a small fixed-wing aircraft soaring in a shear wind-field is built first. An autonomous control policy is found by numerical optimization over control inputs at each time step in the numerical wind shear environment. The performance of this control strategy is then assessed based on its sustainability and the total energy harvested.