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A hardware-based multi-disciplinary design optimization method for aeronautical applications

By Jonathan Kok, Luis F. Gonzalez, Neil A. Kelson and Timothy Gurnett


There are many applications in aeronautics where there exist strong couplings between disciplines. One practical example is within the context of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV) automation where there exists strong coupling between operation constraints, aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, mission and path planning. UAV path planning can be done either online or offline. The current state of path planning optimisation online UAVs with high performance computation is not at the same level as its ground-based offline optimizer's counterpart, this is mainly due to the volume, power and weight limitations on the UAV; some small UAVs do not have the computational power needed for some optimisation and path planning task. In this paper, we describe an optimisation method which can be applied to Multi-disciplinary Design Optimisation problems and UAV path planning problems. Hardware-based design optimisation techniques are used. The power and physical limitations of UAV, which may not be a problem in PC-based solutions, can be approached by utilizing a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) as an algorithm accelerator. The inevitable latency produced by the iterative process of an Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) is concealed by exploiting the parallelism component within the dataflow paradigm of the EA on an FPGA architecture. Results compare software PC-based solutions and the hardware-based solutions for benchmark mathematical problems as well as a simple real world engineering problem. Results also indicate the practicality of the method which can be used for more complex single and multi objective coupled problems in aeronautical applications

Topics: 090100 AEROSPACE ENGINEERING, Aeronautics, Field Programmable Gate Array, Multi-disciplinary Design Optimisation, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Year: 2011
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