Online trajectory planning and control of a MAV payload system in dynamic environments

Nikhil D. Potdar*, Guido C.H.E. de Croon, Javier Alonso-Mora

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) can be used for aerial transportation in remote and urban spaces where portability can be exploited to reach previously inaccessible and inhospitable spaces. Current approaches for path planning of MAV swung payload system either compute conservative minimal-swing trajectories or pre-generate agile collision-free trajectories. However, these approaches have failed to address the prospect of online re-planning in uncertain and dynamic environments, which is a prerequisite for real-world deployability. This paper describes an online method for agile and closed-loop local trajectory planning and control that relies on Non-Linear Model Predictive Control and that addresses the mentioned limitations of contemporary approaches. We integrate the controller in a full system framework, and demonstrate the algorithm’s effectiveness in simulation and in experimental studies. Results show the scalability and adaptability of our method to various dynamic setups with repeatable performance over several complex tasks that include flying through a narrow opening and avoiding moving humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1089
JournalAutonomous Robots
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Collision avoidance
  • MAV-payload system
  • Micro aerial vehicle
  • Motion Planning in dynamic environments
  • MPC
  • Optimal control
  • Trajectory optimization


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