Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


Constant development in Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technologies results in evolving aircraft, instrumentation, and control programs of these systems. An open source simulator was examined as a potential method of testing UAS platforms changes. The open source simulator was used to simulate flights flown by an actual platform. Existing flight data was used as a base line of comparison for the telemetry data of the simulated flight. Patterns in parameters such as vehicle attitude and throttle output were compared between the simulated and actual results to determine if the simulator produced an accurate representation of a physical flight. Analysis of the simulated vehicle exhibited similar behavior to that of the actual vehicle in most of the flight data collected. Simplification in the flight simulator model may be responsible for the deviations in magnitude observed between the two sets of data. Three points of interest in each of the three test cases were chosen as checks for the values in the data. These points in the flight were studied in the various graphs of the parameters graphed and the difference between the simulated and actual values was calculated. The values at these points stayed within an average of 0° and 30° for vehicle attitude and between 0% and 33.3% throttle difference over the three test cases. The average difference in attitude was 5.1° over 93 compared values and 8.1% in throttle over 18 compared values. On average the simulator showed good agreement to existing flight data and therefore will be a good tool to simulate flights prior to a mission. The accuracy of the results may be improved with further development of the simulation model.



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