Multi-objective Optimization for the Design of an Unconventional Sun-Powered High-Altitude-Long-Endurance Unmanned Vehicle

Franco Mastroddi, Lorenzo Maria Travaglini, Stefania Gemma


The use of High Altitude and Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is becoming increasingly significant in both military and civil missions as High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS). Since this class of aircraft is usually powered by solar cells, it typically features unconventional configurations to maximize sun exposed surfaces. In the present paper, a Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) and a Multi-Objective Optimization (MOO) environment have been developed to provide a computational design tool for modeling and designing these unconventional aircraft in order to achieve as independent objectives the maximization of solar power flux, the maximization of the lift-to-drag ratio, and the minimization of mass. To this purpose, a FEM models generator, capable of managing unconventional geometries, and a solar power estimator, are suitably developed to be integrated within a multi objective optimization loop. The simultaneous use of MDO/MOO approaches, and Design Of Experiment (DOE) creation and updating principles, enables to efficiently take into account the multiple and contrasting objectives/constraints arising from the different disciplines involved in the design problem. The study is carried out by using two different commercial codes for multi-bjective optimization and for structural and aeroelastic analyses respectively. The use of advanced MDO/MOO approaches revealed to be effective for designing unconventional vehicles.


Multi-Objective Optimization, Aircraft Multidisciplinary Design, High-Altitude Long-Endurance vehicle, High-Altitude Pseudo Satellite

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