Online Deterministic 3D Trajectory Generation for Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing Aircraft

Zoe Mbikayi, Agnes Steinert, Dominik Heimsch, Moritz Speckmaier, Philippe Rudolph, Hugh Liu, Florian Holzapfel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of non-piloted eVTOL aircraft in non-segregated airspace requires reliable and deterministic automatic flight guidance systems for the aircraft to remain predictable to all the users of the airspace and maintain a high level of safety. In this paper we present a 3D trajectory generation module based on clothoid transition segments in the horizontal plane and high order polynomial transition segments in the vertical plane. The expressions of the coefficients of the polynomial are derived offline are used to generate the trajectory online, making the system capable of running in real time without requiring enormous computational power. For the horizontal plane, we focus on the flyby transition, and therefore present a thorough analysis of the flyby geometry and the limitations linked to this geometry and the construct of three-segment trajectory generation around a fixed turn rate. We present feasible solutions for these limitations, and show simulation results for the combined horizontal and vertical plane concepts, allowing the system to generate complex 3D trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Article number157
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • 3D trajectory generation
  • clothoid-based trajectory generation
  • eVTOL
  • flight guidance
  • online trajectory generation
  • polynomial-based trajectory generation


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