Guidance, navigation and control of a small, unmanned blended wing body aircraft

dc.contributor.advisorMouton, Hennie
dc.contributor.authorvan Wyk, David
dc.date.accessioned2020-12-22T05:58:15Z
dc.date.available2020-12-22T05:58:15Z
dc.date.issued2020
dc.date.updated2020-12-22T05:53:19Z
dc.description.abstractThe purpose of this research is to document the design and optimisation of a full suite of guidance, navigation and control (GNC) algorithms for a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Skywalker X8. This was performed so as to fill a void in the available literature on the selected airframe, which currently only focuses on aspects such as aerodynamic modelling, advanced controller design, or uses of the airframe to perform higher level tasks. All of these research areas make use of off-the-shelf flight controllers, but these are not always the most appropriate foundations for more advanced work as they are inherently sluggish so as to be broadly applicable to a variety of airframes. Subsequently, the Skywalker X8 airframe was modelled, using existing literature, and then characterised so as to establish what the goals might be for an optimal set of controllers. An autopilot was then designed which was optimised so as to be as close to the identified optimal performance characteristics as possible, with effort being put into ensuring that all non-linearities and disturbances were taken into account. This included advanced modelling of sensors, actuators, the environment, and the system itself. The autopilot design was then extended with a set of guidance and navigation algorithms, also developed as part of this research. This consisted of both path planning and path following algorithms which allowed for the synthesis of general classes of paths useful to the application. With both the autopilot and guidance laws developed, the system could be tested under several atmospheric flight conditions. These took the form of various wind directions and intensity levels being applied to the airframe whilst transitioning between a range of different waypoint configurations. The system was subsequently shown to be able to follow a set of waypoints very accurately, even with winds and turbulence with magnitudes of in excess of 60% of the aircraft's nominal airspeed. With a strong autopilot designed and illustrated in a high fidelity simulation environment, this work can now easily be extended into many fields. All of the tools used for this research are available and well documented, and the processes followed repeatable with all justification available in the text. As such, should a project which aims to extend this work wish to adjust the autopilot design or guidance laws, based on different requirements, this is easily accomplished and recommendations of starting points are provided. The system model and autopilot are also made available and are usable exactly as they are should one wish to undertake additional research which does not aim to modify, but to extend this work.
dc.identifier.apacitationvan Wyk, D. (2020). <i>Guidance, navigation and control of a small, unmanned blended wing body aircraft</i>. (). ,Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment ,Department of Mechanical Engineering. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/32426en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitationvan Wyk, David. <i>"Guidance, navigation and control of a small, unmanned blended wing body aircraft."</i> ., ,Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment ,Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2020. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/32426en_ZA
dc.identifier.citationvan Wyk, D. 2020. Guidance, navigation and control of a small, unmanned blended wing body aircraft. . ,Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment ,Department of Mechanical Engineering. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/32426en_ZA
dc.identifier.risTY - Master Thesis AU - van Wyk, David AB - The purpose of this research is to document the design and optimisation of a full suite of guidance, navigation and control (GNC) algorithms for a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Skywalker X8. This was performed so as to fill a void in the available literature on the selected airframe, which currently only focuses on aspects such as aerodynamic modelling, advanced controller design, or uses of the airframe to perform higher level tasks. All of these research areas make use of off-the-shelf flight controllers, but these are not always the most appropriate foundations for more advanced work as they are inherently sluggish so as to be broadly applicable to a variety of airframes. Subsequently, the Skywalker X8 airframe was modelled, using existing literature, and then characterised so as to establish what the goals might be for an optimal set of controllers. An autopilot was then designed which was optimised so as to be as close to the identified optimal performance characteristics as possible, with effort being put into ensuring that all non-linearities and disturbances were taken into account. This included advanced modelling of sensors, actuators, the environment, and the system itself. The autopilot design was then extended with a set of guidance and navigation algorithms, also developed as part of this research. This consisted of both path planning and path following algorithms which allowed for the synthesis of general classes of paths useful to the application. With both the autopilot and guidance laws developed, the system could be tested under several atmospheric flight conditions. These took the form of various wind directions and intensity levels being applied to the airframe whilst transitioning between a range of different waypoint configurations. The system was subsequently shown to be able to follow a set of waypoints very accurately, even with winds and turbulence with magnitudes of in excess of 60% of the aircraft's nominal airspeed. With a strong autopilot designed and illustrated in a high fidelity simulation environment, this work can now easily be extended into many fields. All of the tools used for this research are available and well documented, and the processes followed repeatable with all justification available in the text. As such, should a project which aims to extend this work wish to adjust the autopilot design or guidance laws, based on different requirements, this is easily accomplished and recommendations of starting points are provided. The system model and autopilot are also made available and are usable exactly as they are should one wish to undertake additional research which does not aim to modify, but to extend this work. DA - 2020 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town KW - Mechanical Engineering LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PY - 2020 T1 - Guidance, navigation and control of a small, unharmed blended wing body aircraft TI - Guidance, navigation and control of a small, unharmed blended wing body aircraft UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/32426 ER -en_ZA
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11427/32426
dc.identifier.vancouvercitationvan Wyk D. Guidance, navigation and control of a small, unmanned blended wing body aircraft. []. ,Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment ,Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2020 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/32426en_ZA
dc.language.rfc3066eng
dc.publisher.departmentDepartment of Mechanical Engineering
dc.publisher.facultyFaculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
dc.subjectMechanical Engineering
dc.titleGuidance, navigation and control of a small, unmanned blended wing body aircraft
dc.typeMaster Thesis
dc.type.qualificationlevelMasters
dc.type.qualificationlevelMSc
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