Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs


Brian Griffin

Publication Date



Presented in this thesis is a motion planning scheme for enabling a quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to serve as an autonomous communications relay in indoor or GPS-denied environments. The goal of the algorithm is to maximize the throughput of the end-to-end communications channel. An extremum-seeking controller steers the quadrotor while collision avoidance is provided by artificial potential fields. Extremum-seeking is model-free adaptive control method; it's applicable in situations where there is a nonlinearity in the control problem and the nonlinearity has a local minimum or maximum. The extremum-seeking controller presented here is driven by antenna diversity and attempts to optimize the inputs to an unknown, time-varying cost function characterized by the RF environment. Each of the multiple antennas onboard the quadrotor receives the same incoming packets and provides associated signal strength measurements. The extremum-seeking controller then uses these measurements to autonomously fly the quadrotor communications relay to an optimal location so as to maximize throughput, all without positioning data. This work is motivated by the need to extend the operating ranges of robots in complex urban and indoor environments. The algorithm and necessary technical background are presented in detail. Simulations results verify the validity of the proposed extremum-seeking approach. Experiments demonstrate the feasability of implementing the extremum-seeking controller with tangible hardware.


Autonomous robots Ç‚x Control systems, Quadrotor helicopters--Automatic control, Radio Ç‚x Receivers and reception Ç‚x Diversity systems, Mobile communication systems.

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Abdallah, Chaouki

Second Committee Member

Jayaweera, Sudharman