Bucket Loading Trajectory Optimization for the Automated Wheel Loader

Jie Yao, Connor P. Edson, Sencheng Yu, Gaonan Zhao, Zongxuan Sun, Xingyong Song, Kim A. Stelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The bucket motion of a wheel loader during the loading process is investigated in this study. The optimal bucket loading trajectory can be obtained by solving an optimal control problem with the performance criteria of the fill factor, fuel efficiency and operation cycle time. A control-oriented model for the bucket loading operation is developed. Based on the control-oriented model, the bucket loading process is formulated as an optimal control problem with physical constraints. An open-source optimization solver, OpenOCL, is used to solve this problem. The simulation results show that the proposed method is effective in generating the optimal trajectory with significantly increased energy efficiency and productivity. This optimal trajectory can be employed as a reference for an automated wheel loader or as a driver advisory for a human operated wheel loader.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6948-6958
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) through the Vehicle Technologies Office Award under Grant DE-EE0009200, and in part by CNH.

Publisher Copyright:


  • Wheel loader
  • automatic loading
  • optimal control
  • trajectory optimization


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