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Type: Thesis
Title: Lyapunov-based control strategies for the global control of symmetric VTOL UAVs.
Author: Wood, Rohin
Issue Date: 2007
School/Discipline: School of Mechanical Engineering
Abstract: The last decade has seen significant advances in the development of Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The emergence of enabling technologies, in addition to the practical usefulness of such systems has driven their development to a point where numerous technology demonstrators and commercial products are now in existence. Of particular interest has been the development of small scale, VTOL UAVs commonly referred to as mini and micro-VTOL UAVs. The versatility and agility of such vehicles offers great potential for the use in clustered, urban environments. Despite recent advancements, the autonomous navigation of VTOL UAVs remains a very challenging research area. The dynamics of VTOL UAVs are heavily nonlinear, underactuated and non-minimum phase. This, coupled with the aggressive maneuvers that such vehicles are expected to execute provides a stimulating problem in dynamic control. This is particularly true in the case of micro-VTOL UAVs. The fast, nonlinear nature of these systems render classical, linear control approaches inadequate. The past twenty years has seen great interest in the development of nonlinear control strategies. This has led to the emergence of a number of standard design tools, most notably feedback linearisation and Lyapunov-based, backstepping approaches. Such design techniques offer a framework for the derivation of model based control laws capable of achieving global stabilisation and trajectory tracking control for heavily nonlinear systems. Recently, there has been significant interest in the application of such nonlinear control paradigms for the stabilisation and control of VTOL UAVs. The aim of this thesis is to further the application and analysis of nonlinear control design techniques for the control of VTOL UAVs. In particular, focus is placed on Lyapunov-based, backstepping-type control approaches. The first half of this thesis investigates Lyapunov-based control strategies that cast the closed-loop VTOL dynamics into a globally stable, cascade structure. This work was directly inspired by, and builds on, a variety of previously published works. Firstly, an alternative design approach to that previously published is presented, resulting in an improved closed-loop dynamic structure. Although inspired by the VTOL system, this idea may be generalised for the control of a broad class of systems, and is presented as such. A singularity issue arising in the cascade control of VTOL vehicles is then investigated, and a novel approach to overcome this issue is formulated. The second half of this thesis is dedicated to the trajectory tracking control of VTOL UAVs at velocities where the influence of aerodynamics is significant. In general, the aerodynamic models of VTOL UAVs are heavily nonlinear and poorly known. The use of such models in a backstepping framework that uses explicit differentiation of these models for dynamic inversion is questioned, due to the potential sensitivity of such nonlinear models. Consequently, an alternative approach utilising coupled filters to avoid such sensitivity issues is proposed. All control designs formulated in this thesis are accompanied by proofs guaranteeing their global stability, and numerical simulations demonstrating their time domain response characteristics.
Advisor: Cazzolato, Benjamin Seth
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Mechanical Engineering, 2007
Keywords: PVTOL; VTOL; UAV; control; nonlinear; backstepping; lyapunov
Provenance: Copyright material removed from digital thesis. See print copy in University of Adelaide library for full text.
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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