Autonomous Flight

Multiplex Twinstar in autonomous flight

Unmanned vehicles and autonomous flight require dedicated functions beyond conventional automatic flight in the fields of navigation, motion planning, controls and fault management, and environment mapping. Our research focuses on the first three topics for small UAVs with limited computational power and sensor information. It covers both, aerial (primarily) and space vehicles.



Link to subcategory Autnomous Flight - Motion Planning

Motion Planning

Motion Planning must take into account not only the mission objectives, but also several constraints, such as the environment, e.g. terrain or prohibited airspaces, other aerial vehicles, flight state constraints, and possibly observability. We work in these fields with control and/or optimization approaches.

Link to subcategory Autnomous Flight - Navigation & Mapping

Navigation & Estimation

A proper knowledge of a vehicle’s state and its uncertainties is a key requirement for autonomous operations. We work on various nonlinear filtering approaches, such as Particle Filters or special formulations of Extended Kalman Filters. This includes also model based fault detection.

Link to subcategory Autnomous Flight - Robust Control

Control & Actuation

The inner dynamics of unmanned aerial vehicles is typically multivariable, nonlinear or linear parameter-varying, and over-actuated. This imposes special design problems in the field of robust control and actuator allocation.

Link to subcategory Autnomous Flight - Research Onboard Computer System

Onboard Computing

We pay special attention to outdoor demonstrations of our algorithms rather than just simulations. This requires special techniques, such as parallel computations on small real-time computers. Among others we use our own Research Onboard Computing System (ROCS) that also includes an FPGA, which is used for the implementation of computational control algorithms, e.g. for nonlinear optimization and filtering applications.

Link to subcategory UAV Missions

UAV Missions

We offer our onboard computer system and algorithms to other research institutions for scientific applications that require an airborne platform. This gives us valuable feedback from real mission applications, such as search missions, meteorology, or photogrammetry.


@2015 iFR - Flight Mechanics and Controls Lab


Flight Mechanics and Controls Lab
Pfaffenwaldring 27
70569 Stuttgart


Phone:   +49 711 685-67061

Fax:        +49 711 685-66670