Dynamics and Control of Agile Fixed-Wing UAVs
Fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles are typically used in applications requiring long endurance and high speed. They are less useful in applications that require low speed and high maneuverability, where quadrotors are the vehicle of choice. A new class of fixed-wing UAVs, known as agile aircraft, are characterized by a high thrust-to-weight ratio, and large control surfaces with large deflections. Hobbyists have shown that these aircraft can have low-speed maneuverability rivaling that of quadrotors. This presentation will discuss the dynamics and control of these aircraft, aimed at achieving autonomous agile flight. We’ll first discuss the modeling of these aircraft, including aerodynamics, thruster dynamics, and propeller slipstream. A quaternion-based nonlinear controller will then be introduced to handle the full flight envelope of the aircraft with a single architecture and set of control gains. Some initial motion planning approaches based on a library of aerobatic maneuvers will be presented. Our experimental platforms will be reviewed and, in conclusion, results of indoor and outdoor flight tests will be presented.
Meyer Nahon is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at McGill University. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Queen's University; his Masters degree from the University of Toronto (UTIAS) and his PhD from McGill University. His interests are in the dynamics modeling and control of aerial and underwater vehicles. His present research interests focus on autonomous aerial vehicles and tethered systems.