Distributed Motion Planning for Multiple Quadrotors in Presence of Wind Gusts

Pramod Abichandani, Deepan Lobo, Meghna Muralidharan, Nathan Runk, William McIntyre, Donald Bucci, Hande Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This work demonstrates distributed motion planning for multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle in a windy outdoor environment. The motion planning is modeled as a receding horizon mixed integer nonlinear programming (RH-MINLP) problem. Each quadrotor solves an RH-MINLP to generate its time-optimal speed profile along a minimum snap spline path while satisfying constraints on kinematics, dynamics, communication connectivity, and collision avoidance. The presence of wind disturbances causes the motion planner to continuously regenerate new motion plans, thereby significantly increasing the computational time and possibly leading to safety violations. Control Barrier Functions (CBFs) are used for assist in collision avoidance in the face of wind disturbances while alleviating the need to recalculate the motion plans continually. The RH-MINLPs are solved using a novel combination of heuristic and optimal methods, namely Simulated Annealing and interior-point methods, respectively, to handle discrete variables and nonlinearities in real-time feasibly. The framework is validated in simulations featuring up to 50 quadrotors and Hardware-in-the-loop (HWIL) experiments, followed by outdoor field tests featuring up to 6 DJI M100 quadrotors. Results demonstrate (1) fast online motion planning for outdoor communication-centric multi-quadrotor operations and (2) the utility of CBFs in providing effective motion plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number58
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


  • control barrier functions
  • dryden wind model
  • mathematical optimization
  • multi-UAV systems
  • quadrotor motion planning


Dive into the research topics of 'Distributed Motion Planning for Multiple Quadrotors in Presence of Wind Gusts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this