Adaptive Vector Field Guidance Without a Priori Knowledge of Course Dynamics and Wind

Ximan Wang, Spandan Roy, Stefano Fari, Simone Baldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The high maneuverability of fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) exposes these systems to several dynamical and parametric uncertainties, severely affecting the fidelity of modeling and causing limited guidance autonomy. This article shows enhanced autonomy via adaptation mechanisms embedded in the guidance law: a vector-field method is proposed that does not require a priori knowledge of the UAV course time constant, coupling effects, and wind amplitude/direction. Stability and performance are assessed using the Lyapunov theory. The method is tested on software-in-the loop and hardware-in-the-loop UAV platforms, showing that the proposed guidance law outperforms state-of-the-art guidance controllers and standard vector-field approaches in the presence of significant uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • Adaptive guidance
  • adaptive sliding-mode control
  • Adaptive systems
  • Aerodynamics
  • Autonomous aerial vehicles
  • fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
  • Navigation
  • Orbits
  • Standards
  • Uncertainty
  • unknown dynamics
  • vector field (VF)


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