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Development of a Nonlinear 6-Degree of Freedom Miniature Rotary-Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Software Model and PID Flight Path Controller Using MathWorks Simulink Simulation Environment

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Master's thesis

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This paper describes the development of a 6-degree of freedom 6-DOF, nonlinear, miniature rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle RW UAV simulation environment using MathWorks Simulink simulation software. In addition to the modeling process, this research also conducts flight-path controller design using Proportional Integral Derivative PID control. This models development is motivated by the desire to enable a rapid prototyping platform for design and implementation of various flight control techniques with further seamless transition to the hardware in the loop HIL and flight-testing. The T-Rex Align 600 remote controlled helicopter with COTS autopilot was chosen as a prototype rotary UAV platform. The development of the nonlinear simulation model is implemented starting with extensive literature review of helicopter aerodynamics and flight dynamics theory and applying the mathematical models of the helicopter components to generate helicopter inertial frame motion simulations from pilot commands. The primary helicopter components modeled in this thesis include the helicopter main rotor inflow, thrust, flapping dynamics, as well as the tail rotor inflow and thrust responses. The inertial frame motions are animated using the Flight Gear Version 0.9.8 software. After obtaining simulations with verifiable results, the nonlinear model is linearized about the hovering flight condition and a linear model is extracted. Lastly, the PID controller is designed and flight path software in the loop SIL test results are presented and explained.

Subject Categories:

  • Flight Control and Instrumentation
  • Operations Research
  • Computer Programming and Software

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