Optimal Mission Planning for Fixed-Wing UAVs with Electro-Thermal Icing Protection and Hybrid-Electric Power Systems
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Harsh weather conditions such as wind and icing are severe debilitators to the operations of unmanned aerial vehicles in terms of performance, safety and reliability. Forecasts of atmospheric parameters in the mission area can open many options in terms of how to best traverse said environment. The use of hybrid electric propulsion systems in such vehicles significantly alter operational flexibility and range, and subsequently the versatility of the platform, but they are equally vulnerable to atmospheric conditions. This work will show that taking meteorological forecasts into account when performing path planning optimization on such a platform can lead to improvements in energy efficiency of up to 43%, or reduce the flight time between two points by up to 42%, when compared to a standard, straight cruising flight.