Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Pillsbury A Mill and Stone Arch Bridge, 4th of July

I'm just back from the AIAA Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) Conference in Minneapolis.  There were many interesting things to see and I can't do justice to it all here, but if only for my own memory, here are a few of the most relevant papers.  (Note on referencing: there doesn't seem to be an easy way to link into the AIAA database.  Instead, I'll just provide paper numbers, AIAA-2012-XXXX.  You can search by number in the AIAA Electronic Library.)

Starting with the Air Traffic Management domain, it was interesting to see nonlinear trajectory optimization applied (AIAA-2012-4755) and EADS' work on modeling noise in trajectory optimizers (4482).  Meanwhile UCSC presented some work on formation flight for civil airliners (4524) and our own Tom Kent did a good job of presenting his recent PhD work in this area (4769).  Finally, MITRE's work on flow contingency management (4976) nicely complements our own work on the ONBOARD SESAR project.

Heading into space, Iowa State made a very elegant job of rendezvous optimization by using conic programming (4924), solving many of the challenges we encountered in the ORCSAT project while still having a convex optimization at the core. In the very next paper, a consortium including ESA and the University of Exeter proposed methods for verification and validation of spacecraft rendezvous controllers based on both numerical and analytical methods for finding worst case behaviour.  Louis Breger presented an elegant approach to fault detection (4611) which I'm sure should be in an optimizer somehow...

There was an enormous range of work in the UAV area.  Starting at the practical end, it was interesting to see indoor flight testing using the same fixed-wing Night Vapor aircraft as in our experiments (4464), including gust response work.  Adaptive control seems to work nicely for MIT's quadrotors (4551) and others from Seoul with attached manipulator arms (4835).  There were whole sessions on vision-based control (5048 to 5051) including Steve Waslander's dampening experiences of chasing icebergs (5049): it was also interesting to see latency handled by simple linear approximations in these works.  Moving to higher level control of teams and tasking, there were developments in optimization from Toronto (4680) and planning based on data-driven learning from MIT (4682).

And let's not forget the discovery of the bizarre love of lawn green bowls in Minneapolis - quite surreal.

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