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Daytona Beach


Physical Sciences

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The flight trajectory of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be significantly affected by external disturbances such as turbulence, upstream wake vortices, or wind gusts. These effects present challenges for UAV flight safety. Hence, addressing these challenges is of critical importance for the integration of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS), especially in terminal zones. This work presents a robust nonlinear control method that has been designed to achieve roll/yaw regulation in the presence of unmodeled external disturbances and system nonlinearities. The data from NASA-conducted airport experimental measurements as well as high-fidelity Large Eddy Simulations of the wake vortex are used in the study. Side-by-side simulation comparisons between the robust nonlinear control law and both linear H∞" role="presentation" style="box-sizing: border-box; max-height: none; display: inline; line-height: normal; font-size: 13.2px; overflow-wrap: normal; white-space: nowrap; float: none; direction: ltr; max-width: none; min-width: 0px; min-height: 0px; border: 0px; padding: 0px; margin: 0px; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Arial, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; position: relative;">H∞�∞ and PID control laws are provided for completeness. These simulations are focused on applications involving small UAV affected by the wake vortex disturbance in the vicinity of the ground (which models the take-off or landing phase) as well as in the out-of-ground zone. The results demonstrate the capability of the proposed nonlinear controller to asymptotically reject wake vortex disturbance in the presence of the nonlinearities in the system (i.e., parametric variations, unmodeled, time-varying disturbances). Further, the nonlinear controller is designed with a computationally efficient structure without the need for the complex calculations or function approximators in the control loop. Such a structure is motivated by UAV applications where onboard computational resources are limited.

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