Autonomous landing of a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle using differential GPS

Smit, Samuel Jacobus Adriaan (2013-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation presents the design and practical demonstration of a flight control system (FCS) that is capable of autonomously landing a fixed-wing, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on a stationary platform aided by a high-precision differential global positioning system. This project forms part of on-going research with the end goal of landing a fixed-wing UAV on a moving platform (for example a ship’s deck) in windy conditions. The main aim of this project is to be able to land the UAV autonomously, safely and accurately on the runway. To this end, an airframe was selected and equipped with an avionics payload. The equipped airframe’s stability derivatives were analysed via AVL and the moment of inertia was determined by the double pendulum method. The aircraft model was developed in such a way that the specific force and moment model (high bandwidth) is split from the point-mass dynamics of the aircraft (low bandwidth) [1]. The advantage of modelling the aircraft according to this unique method, results in a design that has simple decoupled linear controllers. The inner-loop controllers control the high-bandwidth specific accelerations and roll-rate, while the outer-loop controllers control the low-bandwidth point-mass dynamics. The performance of the developed auto-landing flight control system was tested in software-in-the-loop (SIL) and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulations. A Monte Carlo non-linear landing simulation analysis showed that the FCS is expected to land the aircraft 95% of the time within a circle with a diameter of 1.5m. Practical flight tests verified the theoretical results of the developed controllers and the project was concluded with five autonomous landings. The aircraft landed within a circle with a 7.5m radius with the aiming point at the centre of the circle. In the practical landings the longitudinal landing error dominated the landing performance of the autonomous landing system. The large longitudinal error resulted from a climb rate bias on the estimated climb rate and a shallow landing glide slope.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie skripsie stel die ontwikkeling en praktiese demonstrasie van ʼn self-landdende onbemande vastevlerkvliegtuigstelsel voor, wat op ʼn stilstaande platform te lande kan kom met behulp van ʼn uiters akkurate globale posisionering stelsel. Die projek maak deel uit van ʼn groter projek, waarvan die doel is om ʼn onbemande vastevlerkvliegtuig op ʼn bewegende platform te laat land (bv. op ʼn boot se dek) in onstuimige windtoestande. Die hoofdoel van die projek was om die vliegtuig so akkuraat as moontlik op die aanloopbaan te laat land. ʼn Vliegtuigraamwerk is vir dié doel gekies wat met gepaste avionica uitgerus is. Die uitgeruste vliegtuig se aerodinamsie eienskappe was geanaliseer met AVL en die traagheidsmoment is deur die dubbelependulum metode bepaal. Die vliegtuigmodel is op so ‘n manier onwikkel om [1] die spesifieke krag en momentmodel (vinnige reaksie) te skei van die puntmassadinamiek (stadige reaksie). Die voordeel van hierdie wyse van modulering is dat eenvoudige ontkoppelde beheerders ontwerp kon word. Die binnelusbeheerders beheer die vinnige reaksie-spesifieke versnellings en die rol tempo van die vliegtuig. Die buitelusbeheerders beheer die stadige reaksie puntmassa dinamiek. Die vliegbeheerstelsel is in sagteware-in-die-lus en hardeware-in-die-lus simulasies getoets. Die vliegtuig se landingseienskappe is ondersoek deur die uitvoer van Monte Carlo simulasies, die simulasie resultate wys dat die vliegtuig 95% van die tyd binne in ʼn sirkel met ʼn diameter van 1.5m geland het. Praktiese vlugtoetse het bevestig dat die teoretiese uitslae en die prakties uitslae ooreenstem. Die vliegtuig het twee suksesvolle outomatiese landings uitgevoer, waar dit binne ʼn 7.5m-radius sirkel geland het, waarvan die gewenste landingspunt die middelpunt was. In die outomatiese landings is die longitudinale landingsfout die grootse. Die groot longitudinale landingsfout is as gevolg van ʼn afset op die afgeskatte afwaartse spoed en ʼn lae landings gradiënt.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80122
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