In this work, control techniques for the autonomous navigation and landing of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) are developed and compared. Controllers were developed and implemented on two different aircraft models: the Lockheed-Martin F-16 and AAI Corporation/Israel Aircraft Industries RQ-2 Pioneer. Due to the expense of modifying the pre-existing F-16 flight control system, the controller is implemented outside of the closed loop. Proportional-integral-derivative and proportional-integral controllers are developed for holding the aircraft at a desired velocity and altitude. The aircraft are approximated as Dubins vehicles constrained to travel on a two-dimensional surface for decreased simulation time. Using the simplified model two control techniques are developed and then compared. The first uses a proportional feedback controller based on the Rhumb-line that the aircraft is traveling along. The second control technique uses a trajectory determined from an algorithm using the Dubins path determination for the shortest travel distance between two points. A sliding mode controller is developed to guide the simplified model along the Dubins path trajectory. The advantage of the Dubins path trajectory is that it allows for a closed-form time estimate to reach the desired way-point. Comparison between the two navigation techniques using the simplified system shows a significant decrease in time to way-point for the Dubins curve trajectory controller. The Rhumb-line controller and a hybrid Rhumb-line/Dubins path controller are implemented on nonlinear models of both aircraft. Simulation of both controllers on the nonlinear model shows acceptable performance in guiding the aircraft between way-points. Also, the time to way-point for the nonlinear aircraft model guided by the hybrid controller is within 5% of the closed-form Dubins trajectory estimate. Autonomous landing is accomplished utilizing the path guidance and altitude controllers. The nonlinear simulated aircraft successfully followed the glideslope from way-point to runway.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Drone aircraft--Mathematical models; Flight control--Mathematical models; Airplanes--Landing--Mathematical models
Department, Program, or Center
Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)
Grymin, David, "Development of a novel method for autonomous navigation and landing of unmanned aerial vehicles" (2009). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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