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Performance enhancement of real‐time computing for small unmanned helicopter autopilot

Nodir Kodirov (School of Computer Science and Engineering, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Doo‐Hyun Kim (School of Computer Science and Engineering, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Junyeong Kim (School of Computer Science and Engineering, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Seunghwa Song (School of Computer Science and Engineering, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Changjoo Moon (School of Internet and Multimedia, Konkuk University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 18 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to make performance improvements and timely critical execution enhancements for operational flight program (OFP). The OFP is core software of autonomous control system of small unmanned helicopter.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to meet the time constraints and enhance control application performance, two major improvements were done at real‐time operating system (RTOS) kernel. They are thread scheduling algorithm and lock‐free thread message communication mechanism. Both of them have a direct relationship with system efficiency and indirect relationship with helicopter control application execution stability through improved deadline keeping characteristics.

Findings

In this paper, the suitability of earliest deadline first (EDF) scheduling algorithm and non‐blocking buffer (NBB) mechanism are illustrated with experimental and practical applications. Results of this work show that EDF contributes around 15 per cent finer‐timely execution and NBB enhances kernel's responsiveness around 35 per cent with respect to the number of thread context switch and CPU utilization. These apply for OFP implemented over embedded configurable operating system (eCos) RTOS on x86 architecture‐based board.

Practical implications

This paper illustrates an applicability of deadline‐based real‐time scheduling algorithm and lock‐free kernel communication mechanism for performance enhancement and timely critical execution of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle control system.

Originality/value

This paper illustrates a novel approach to extend RTOS kernel modules based on unmanned aerial vehicle control application execution scenario. Lock‐free thread communication mechanism is implemented, and tested for applicability at RTOS. Relationship between UAV physical and computation modules are clearly illustrated via an appropriate unified modelling language (UML) collaboration and state diagrams. As experimental tests are conducted not only for a particular application, but also for various producer/consumer scenarios, these adequately demonstrate the applicability of extended kernel modules for general use.

Keywords

Citation

Kodirov, N., Kim, D., Kim, J., Song, S. and Moon, C. (2011), "Performance enhancement of real‐time computing for small unmanned helicopter autopilot", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 83 No. 6, pp. 344-352. https://doi.org/10.1108/00022661111173225

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited