A Finite-State Fixed-Corridor Model for UAS Traffic Management

Hossein Rastgoftar, Hamid Emadi, Ella M. Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proposes a fluid-flow-inspired solution for low altitude Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) in urban areas. We decompose UTM into spatial and temporal planning problems. For the spatial planning problem, we use the principles of Eulerian continuum mechanics to safely and optimally allocate airspace to a UAS. To this end, the finite airspace is partitioned into keep-in and keep-out subspaces with keep-out subspace(s) or zone(s) enclosing buildings and restricted no-fly regions. The keep-in subspace is divided into navigable channels that safely wrap keep-out zone(s). We define the airspace planning problem with a Dynamic Programming (DP) formulation in which states are defined based on spatial and temporal airspace features and actions denote transitions between safe navigable channels. We apply the proposed traffic management solution to enable safe coordination of multiple small UAS at low-altitude airspace populated with buildings of varied footprints and heights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Atmospheric modeling
  • Buildings
  • Floors
  • Fluid flow
  • Markov decision process (MDP)
  • Planning
  • Protocols
  • Trajectory
  • UAS traffic management (UTM)
  • path planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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