Nonlinear automatic control of fixed-wing aerial vehicles

Abstract : The present thesis develops a new control approach for scale-model airplanes. The proposed control solutions exploit a simple but pertinent nonlinear model of aerodynamic forces acting on the aircraft. Nonlinear controllers are based on a hierarchical structure, and are derived on the basis of theoretical stability and convergence analyses. They are designed to operate on a large spectrum of operating conditions. In particular, they avoid the singularities associated with the parameterization of the attitude and the heading of the vehicle, and do not rely on a decoupling between longitudinal and lateral dynamics. First, the trajectory tracking problem is addressed by extending the thrust vectoring method used for small rotor vehicles to the case of fixed wing vehicles. In the case of airplanes, the main challenge is to take into account the aerodynamic forces in the design of control systems. In order to solve this problem, the proposed control is designed and analyzed on the basis of the proposed aerodynamic forces model. The flight envelope is thus broadened beyond trim trajectories which are classically used in the literature. This solution is then adapted to the path following problem, and kinematic guidance and dynamic control laws are developed within a single coherent framework that applies to almost any regular 3D path. The proposed control laws incorporate integral terms that robustify the control with respect to unmodelled dynamics. Several practical issues are addressed and the proposed control laws are validated via hardware-in-the-loop simulations. Finally, successful flight test results illustrate the soundness and performance of the proposed control laws.
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Jean-Marie Kai. Nonlinear automatic control of fixed-wing aerial vehicles. Automatic. Université Côte d'Azur, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018AZUR4117⟩. ⟨tel-02025356⟩

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