A path planning approach for unmanned solar-powered aerial vehicles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Solar energy is an available high-quality source for the operation of many technological systems that fulfil the needs of human society. Among all the many applications, the use of solar energy in aircraft is extremely challenging, with a lot of potential advantages. The application of solar energy for flight is one of the promising uses of renewable energy, and in particular the possibility of improving the long endurance requirement in complex missions of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) using solar energy is very attractive. In this context, the article deals with the problem of flight path planning in solar-powered UAVs that fly at a constant altitude. The UAV model incorporates kinematic and dynamic equations where the components of the input vector are the thrust force and the bank angle. Planning the flight path relies here on the flatness property of the system. In fact, his property allows us to plan a flight path without solving non-linear differential equations, and most importantly to link the dynamics of the system, the energy lost and the solar energy absorbed during the flight. Some relevant applications of the approach are discussed, and numerical results are demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalRenewable Energy and Power Quality Journal
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • Solar energy
  • UAV control
  • differentially flat system
  • kinematic & dynamic equations
  • path planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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