Control of laser-powered drones

For my master in Mathematical Engineering I wrote a thesis on the control of laser-powered drones.

Problem Statement

Implement control strategies for drone and ground station in order to charge a drone while it is following a path. In this thesis, two different cases are discussed:

  1. Deliver power to a single drone while it follows a path, deciding inputs to both drone and path,
  2. Multiple drones with hindered line-of-sight of one the leader drone.


Longer battery life could help in a variety of applications:

  1. Aerial surveillance: allows for continuous observation,
  2. Monitoring: perform monitoring tasks in an abbreviated time, without taxiing and recharging,
  3. Delivery: flying longer distances without recharging.

Control Strategies

Each introduced control strategies was test and compared in simulation.

Single drone

Control a single drone so that it tracks a given path.


  1. Build simulation system,
  2. Familiarize with MPC,
  3. Use as benchmark.

LQR visual

MPC visual


Track a drone using the laser to deliver power.


  1. Introduce the ground station,
  2. Improve this by coupling.

Decoupled visual


In the coupled approach, the expected future position of the drone is used in calculating the control action of the ground station. This should improve the charging.

Coupled visual

Multi drone

When there is no direct line-of-sight, one drone is used to reflect the laser onto another to charge it with a mirror.

Two Drone visual

For two drones only the checkpoints are made:Two drone checkpoints.
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