Linear Parameter Varying Path Following Control of a Small Fixed Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
A mathematical model of a small fixed-wing aircraft was developed through application of parameter estimation techniques to simulated flight test data. Multiple controllers were devised based on this model for path following, including a self-scheduled linear parameter-varying (LPV) controller with path curvature as a scheduling parameter. The robustness and performance of these controllers were tested in a rigorous MATLAB simulation environment that included steady winds and gusts, measurement noise, delays, and model uncertainties. The linear controllers designed within were found to be robust to the disturbances and uncertainties in the simulation environment, and had similar or better performance in comparison to a nonlinear control law operating in an inner-outer loop structure. Steps are being taken to implement the resulting controllers on the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) testbed in the Nonlinear Systems Laboratory at Virginia Tech.