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Section: Research Program

Trajectory optimization

The so-called direct methods consist in an optimization of the trajectory, after having discretized time, by a nonlinear programming solver that possibly takes into account the dynamic structure. So the two main problems are the choice of the discretization and the nonlinear programming algorithm. A third problem is the possibility of refinement of the discretization once after solving on a coarser grid.

In the full discretization approach, general Runge-Kutta schemes with different values of control for each inner step are used. This allows to obtain and control high orders of precision, see Hager [22], Bonnans [17]. In the indirect approach, the control is eliminated thanks to Pontryagin's maximum principle. One has then to solve the two-points boundary value problem (with differential variables state and costate) by a single or multiple shooting method. The questions are here the choice of a discretization scheme for the integration of the boundary value problem, of a (possibly globalized) Newton type algorithm for solving the resulting finite dimensional problem in IRn (n is the number of state variables), and a methodology for finding an initial point.