Abstract: We present an optimization-based framework for multicopter trajectory planning subject to geometrical spatial constraints and user-defined dynamic constraints. The basis of the framework is a novel trajectory representation built upon our novel optimality conditions for unconstrained control effort minimization. We design linear-complexity operations on this representation to conduct spatial-temporal deformation under various planning requirements. Smooth maps are utilized to exactly eliminate geometrical constraints in a lightweight fashion. A wide range of state-input constraints are supported by the decoupling of dense constraint evaluation from sparse parameterization, and backward differentiation of flatness map. As a result, the proposed framework transforms a generally constrained multicopter planning problem into an unconstrained optimization that can be solved reliably and efficiently. Our framework bridges the gaps among solution quality, planning frequency and constraint fidelity for a multicopter with limited resources and maneuvering capability. Its generality and robustness are both demonstrated by applications and experiments for different tasks. Extensive simulations and benchmarks are also conducted to show its capability of generating high-quality solutions while retaining the computation speed against other specialized methods by orders of magnitudes.
Authors: Zhepei Wang, Xin Zhou, Chao Xu and Fei Gao (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC))