Decentralized cooperative trajectory planning of multiple aircraft with hard safety guarantees

Tom Schouwenaarst, Jonathan How, Eric Feron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

139 Scopus citations


This paper presents a framework for provably safe decentralized trajectory planning of multiple (autonomous) aircraft. Each aircraft plans its trajectory individually using a receding horizon strategy based on mixed integer linear programming (MILP). A constrained, inertial, first-order linear model is used to capture the dynamics and kinematics of the vehicle. Safety is guaranteed by maintaining, at each time step, a dynamically feasible trajectory for each aircraft that terminates in a loiter pattern. Conflicts between multiple aircraft are resolved in a sequential, decentralized fashion, in which each aircraft takes into account the latest trajectory and loiter pattern of the other aircraft. Besides maintaining feasibility, if the problem is too complex to be solved within the time constraints of a real-time system, this approach also provides an a priori safe rescue solution consisting of the previous trajectories and individual loiter patterns. Several examples of conflict situations resolved by the proposed method are presented. Copyright © 2004 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

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