The OSTIV Diploma is awarded to:
John J. Bird and Jack W. Langelaan
for their paper, based on his presentation at the XXXI OSTIV Congress in Uvalde, Texas, USA, 2012, and published in Technical Soaring, Vol. 37, No. 3, July 2013,
“Spline Mapping to Maximize Energy
Exploitation of Non-Uniform Thermals”
The focus of the research covered in this paper is on the use of autonomous (or automated) soaring to improve the performance of small unmanned aerial vehicles. The approach makes use of splines to map a random thermal and, based on that thermal model, adjust the flight path to maximum climb rate. In simulations, the effectiveness of this approach is explored and compared to other thermal-centering methods that are commonly used in soaring. Especially for complex thermal shapes, this approach appears to have merits. For the sport of soaring, in addition to better thermal models, this work should ultimately lead to better strategies for exploiting thermals.