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Professor Arthur Richards

Aerospace Guidance and Control

I specialize in the application of trajectory optimization to problems in aerospace. Examples of recent work include:

  • autonomous exploration of a cluttered environment by an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV)
  • fuel-efficient rendezvous of spacecraft for Mars Sample Return mission
  • robust air traffic flow management

This technologies involved include:

  • non-convex optimization for avoidance constraints, such as obstacle avoidance or air traffic separation
  • robust model predictive control, applying optimization in real time to compensate for disturbances and other uncertainty
  • distributed optimization and control, enabling cooperation across large teams of vehicles

In all of the work, the challenges are to find solutions that are:

  • high performance, e.g. handling high levels of air traffic or using minimal fuel
  • robust, able to work in uncertain environments or even without a map at all
  • scalable, able to extend to very large numbers of vehicles
  • fast, using efficient algorithms to respond quickly to new information

Research keywords

  • air traffic management
  • unmanned air vehicles
  • spacecraft control
  • robotics
  • trajectory optimization
  • model predictive control