The purpose of this project is to show the comparative advantages and disadvantages of multiple controller types for fixed-wing UAV autopilot designs both in simulation and reality. Mark Barnett, under the guidance of Dr. Kevin A. Wise of The Boeing Company, designed a full flight simulator and physical fixed-wing system. Control system design for lateral and longitudinal autopilots utilizing successive loop closure (SLC) with proportional-integral-derivative (PID) gain-tuning was completed in simulation and implemented to a physical Zagi HP Electric Flying Wing RC aircraft with the commercially available Pixhawk 2.1 autopilot. Linear quadratic regulator (LQR) method of control design for lateral and longitudinal autopilots was completed in simulation only. The objective of the designed lateral autopilot for both control methods was to drive course heading to a commanded course, whereas the objective of the designed longitudinal autopilot was to drive altitude to a commanded altitude, as well as airspeed to a commanded airspeed. It was discovered that LQR control methods displayed greater performance in simulation, whereas SLC with PID gain-tuning control method could be applied to a physical aircraft with much less difficulty while simultaneously performing adequately in simulation.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE: final_report-120lnq2
Check out the Zagi animation used throughout the simulation by downloading the video file here: