Geometric Reduced-Attitude Control of Fixed-Wing UAVs
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionApplied Sciences. 2021, 11 (7), . https://doi.org/10.3390/app11073147
This paper presents nonlinear, singularity-free autopilot designs for multivariable reduced-attitude control of fixed-wing aircraft. To control roll and pitch angles, we employ vector coordinates constrained to the unit two-sphere and that are independent of the yaw/heading angle. The angular velocity projected onto this vector is enforced to satisfy the coordinated-turn equation. We exploit model structure in the design and prove almost global asymptotic stability using Lyapunov-based tools. Slowly-varying aerodynamic disturbances are compensated for using adaptive backstepping. To emphasize the practical application of our result, we also establish the ultimate boundedness of the solutions under a simplified controller that only depends on rough estimates of the control-effectiveness matrix. The controller design can be used with state-of-the-art guidance systems for fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and is implemented in the open-source autopilot ArduPilot for validation through realistic software-in-the-loop (SITL) simulations.