Constrained Control for Helicopter Shipboard Operations and Moored Ocean Current Turbine Flight Control

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation focuses on constrained control of two applications: helicopter and ocean current turbines (OCT).

A major contribution in the helicopter application is a novel model predictive control (MPC) framework for helicopter shipboard operations in high demanding sea-based conditions. A complex helicopter-ship dynamics interface has been developed as a system of implicit nonlinear ordinary differential equations to capture essential characteristics of the nonlinear helicopter dynamics, the ship dynamics, and the ship airwake interactions. Various airwake models such as Control Equivalent Turbulence Inputs (CETI) model and Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) data of the airwake are incorporated in the interface to describe a realistic model of the shipborne helicopter. The feasibility of the MPC design is investigated using two case studies: automatic deck landing during the ship quiescent period in sea state 5, and lateral reposition toward the ship in different wind-over-deck conditions. To improve the overall MPC performance, an updating scheme for the internal model of the MPC is proposed using linearization around operating points. A mixed-integer MPC algorithm is also developed for helicopter precision landing on moving decks. The performance of this control structure is evaluated via numerical simulations of the automatic deck landing in adverse conditions such as landing on up-stroke, and down-stroke moving decks with high energy indices. Kino-dynamic motion planning for coordinated maneuvers to satisfy the helicopter-ship rendezvous conditions is implemented via mixed integer quadratic programming.

In the OCT application, the major contribution is that a new idea is leveraged from helicopter blade control by introducing cyclic blade pitch control in OCT. A minimum energy, constrained control method, namely Output Variance Constrained (OVC) control is studied for OCT flight control in the presence of external disturbances. The minimum achievable output variance bounds are also computed and a parametric study of design parameters is conducted to evaluate their influence on the OVC performance. The performance of the OVC control method is evaluated both on the linear and nonlinear OCT models. Furthermore, control design for the OCT with sensor failures is also examined. Lastly, the MPC strategy is also investigated to improve the OCT flight control performance in simultaneous satisfaction of multiple constraints and to avoid blade stall.

helicopter shipboard operations, ocean current turbine, model predictive control, mixed integer quadratic programming, motion planning, ouput variance constrained control