Sundar, Kaarthik (2012-08). Motion Planning for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with Resource Constraints. Master's Thesis.
Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are currently used in several surveillance applications to monitor a set of targets and collect relevant data. One of the main constraints that characterize a small UAV is the maximum amount of fuel the vehicle can carry. In the thesis, we consider a single UAV routing problem where there are multiple depots and the vehicle is allowed to refuel at any depot. The objective of the problem is to find a path for the UAV such that each target is visited at least once by the vehicle, the fuel constraint is never violated along the path for the UAV, and the total length of the path is a minimum. Mixed integer, linear programming formulations are proposed to solve the problem optimally. As solving these formulations to optimality may take a large amount of time, fast and efficient construction and improvement heuristics are developed to find good sub-optimal solutions to the problem. Simulation results are also presented to corroborate the performance of all the algorithms. In addition to the above contributions, this thesis develops an approximation algorithm for a multiple UAV routing problem with fuel constraints.