Accurate autonomous landing of a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle

Alberts, Frederik Nicolaas (2012-12)

Thesis (MScEng)-- Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis presents the analysis, design, simulation and practical implementation of a control system to achieve an accurate autonomous landing of a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle in the presence of wind gust atmospheric disturbances. Controllers which incorporate the concept of direct-lift control were designed based on a study of the longitudinal dynamics of the UAV constructed as a testbed. Direct-lift control offers the prospect of an improvement in the precision with which aircraft height and vertical velocity can be controlled by utilising actuators which generate lift directly, instead of the conventional method whereby the moment produced by an actuator results in lift being indirectly generated. Two normal specific acceleration controllers were designed. The first being a conventional moment-based controller, and the second a direct-lift-augmented controller. The moment-based controller makes use of the aircraft’s elevator while the direct-lift augmented controller in addition makes use of the flaps of the aircraft which serve as the direct-lift actuator. Controllers were also designed to regulate the airspeed, altitude, climb rate, and roll angle of the aircraft as well as damp the Dutch roll mode. A guidance controller was implemented to allow for the following of waypoints. A landing procedure and methodology was developed which includes the circuit and landing approach paths and the concept of a glide path offset to calibrate the touchdown point of a landing. All controllers and the landing procedure were tested in a hardware-in-the-loop simulation environment as well as practically in a series of flight tests. Five fully autonomous landings were performed, three of these using the conventional NSA controller, and the final two the direct-lift-augmented NSA controller. The results obtained during the landing flight tests show that the project goal of a landing within five meters along the runway and three meters across the runway was achieved in both normal wind conditions as well as in conditions where wind gusts prevailed. The flight tests also showed that the direct-lift-augmented NSA controller appears to achieve a more accurate landing than the conventional NSA controller, especially in the presence of greater wind disturbances. The direct-lift augmented NSA controller also exhibited less pitch angle rotation during landing.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis verteenwoordig die analise, ontwerp, simulasie en praktiese implementering van ’n beheerstelsel wat ten doel het om ’n akkurate en outonome landing van ’n onbemande vastevlerk vliegtuig in rukwind atmosferiese toestande te bewerkstellig. Gegrond op ’n studie van die longitudinale dinamika van die vliegtuig wat as proeftuig gebruik is, is beheerders ontwerp wat die beginsel van direkte-lig insluit. Direkte-lig beheer hou die potensiaal in om die vliegtuig se hoogte en vertikale snelheid akkuraat te beheer deur gebruik te maak van aktueerders wat lig direk genereer in teenstelling met die konvensionele metode waar die moment van die aktueerder indirek lig genereer. Twee normaal-versnellings beheerders is ontwerp. Die eerste is ’n konvensionele moment-gebaseerde beheerder wat gebruik maak van die hys-aktueerder van die vliegtuig, en die tweede is ’n direkte-lig-bygestaande beheerder wat addisioneel gebruik maak van die flappe van die vliegtuig wat as die direkte-lig aktueerder dien. Vedere beheerders is ontwerp wat die lugspoed, hoogte, klimkoers, en rolhoek van die vliegtuig reguleer asook die “Dutch roll” gedrag afklam. ’n Leiding-beheerder wat die volg van vliegbakens hanteer, is ingestel. Die landingsprosedure en -metodologie is ontwikkel wat die landingspad sowel as die sweef-pad bepaal en wat terselfdertyd ’n metode daarstel om die posisie van die landingspunt te kalibreer. Die beheerders en landingsprosedure is in ’n hardeware-in-die-lus omgewing gesimuleer en deur middel van ’n reeks proefvlugte getoets. Vyf ten volle outonome landings is uitgevoer waarvan drie van die konvensionele normaal-versnellings beheerder gebruik gemaak het, en die laaste twee die direkte-lig-bygestaande normaal-versnellings beheerder. Die vlugtoetsuitslae bevestig dat die navorsingsdoel om ’n landing binne vyf meter in lyn met en drie meter dwarsoor die landingstrook te bewerkstellig, behaal is. Hierdie akkuraatheid is verkry in beide goeie atmosferiese toestande sowel as toestande met rukwinde. Volgens die vlugtoetse blyk dit dat die direkte-lig-bygestaande normaalversnellings beheerder ’n meer akkurate landing kan bewerkstellig as die konvensionele normaal-versnellings beheerder, veral dan in toestande met rukwinde. Die direkte-ligbygestaande normaal-versnellings beheerder het ook ’n laer hei-hoek rotasie tydens die landing vertoon.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71672
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