Landing a fixed-wing uav on a moving platform: A pseudospectral optimal control approach

Jintasit Pravitra, John Paul Clarke, Eric N. Johnson

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

3 Scopus citations


This paper presents a preliminary development on a guidance algorithm capable of landing a fixed-wing UAV on a moving platform. The problem has not been investigated thoroughly by the community where almost all of related works are applications of either helicopters or multirotors. The problem is challenging because it demands position, velocity, and attitude to be matched simultaneously at touchdown. We formulate the problem as a minimum time optimal control problem and solve it using the pseudospectral optimal control method. We found that direct-lift control is a key element to successfully match position, velocity, and attitude simultaneously at touchdown. Our approach can handle steady wind and can also handle mildly maneuvering platform scenario. The algorithm is tested with various initial conditions and also tested in a receding horizon manner. The method is too slow to run in real-time. However, it reveals many challenges unique to this problem that must be overcome in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Aviation 2019 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781624105890
StatePublished - 2019
EventAIAA Aviation 2019 Forum - Dallas, United States
Duration: Jun 17 2019Jun 21 2019

Publication series

NameAIAA Aviation 2019 Forum


ConferenceAIAA Aviation 2019 Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering


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