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Path Planning for UAVs for Maximum Information Collection

Path planning considers the problem of designing the path a vehicle is supposed to follow. Along the designed path the objectives are to maximize the collected information (CI) from desired regions (DR), while avoiding flying over forbidden regions (FR) and reaching the destination. The path planning problem for a single unmanned air vehicle (UAV) is studied with the proposal of novel evolutionary operators: pull-to-desired-region (PTDR), push-from-forbidden-region (PFFR), and pull-to-final-point (PTFP). In addition to these newly proposed operators, standard mutation and crossover operators are used. The initial population seed-path is obtained by both utilizing the pattern search method and solving the traveling salesman problem (TSP). Using this seed-path the initial population of paths is generated by randomly selected heading angles. It should be emphasized that all of the paths in population in any generation of the genetic algorithm (GA) are constructed using the dynamical mathematical model of a UAV equipped with the autopilot and guidance algorithms. Simulations are realized in the MATLAB/Simulink environment. The path planning algorithm is tested with different scenarios, and the results are presented in Section VI. Although there are previous studies in this field, the focus here is on maximizing the CI instead of minimizing the total mission time. In addition it is observed that the proposed operators generate better paths than classical evolutionary operators.