New strategies for designing UAV autopilots using real Time non linear control

Programa de apoyo I+D+I UPV. 2011

In the present project, the use and application of optimization and advanced control strategies (non linear multivariable predictive control, etc.) in the design of flight control systems (FCS) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be investigated. The research stated, will attempt to show that modern optimization algorithms and process control techniques can be adapted to form part of the autopilot that use this type of unmanned aircraft. In this sense, the study is ambitious because it will replace the most common approach to the present moment autopilots (using different PID controllers designed for different operating points of the aircraft and an gain scheduling depending on flight mode), by an advanced control strategy, multivariable and robust as predictive control. Multivariable predictive control is one of the few control methods have been applied successfully in other areas of engineering for industrial process control, and it manages in a natural way, contraints on the variables involved in the problem to solve. The specifics of the flight control systems and in particular the automatic pilot UAVs (fast and nonlinear dynamics, actuator constraints, etc.) pose an interesting challenge to investigate whether it is possible to develop automatic pilots with improved performances and more robust than current systems that are often equipped UAVs in today’s market.
As objectives, this project proposes:

  • Design of multivariable predictive control algorithms for flight control systems for fixed wing UAVs.
  • To develop all the software components (including the new drivers) and its integration with various hardware elements (on-board computer, sensors and actuators) needed to build a prototype unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) including the ground control station (GCS).
  • Build and operate a platform for evaluation and testing of different control algorithms and systems for UAVs using techniques HIL (Hardware In the Loop).
  • Realization of actual flight tests with the new flight control system design.
  • Patenting the system designed for future commercial operations.


KEYWORDS: UAV, Flight Control Systems, HIL, Navigation, Guidance, Control