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Simplified atmospheric model for UAV simulation and evaluation

Jessica Da Costa Siqueira (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Mario G. Perhinschi (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Ghassan Al-Sinbol (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems

ISSN: 2049-6427

Article publication date: 19 April 2017

125

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a simplified atmospheric model including constant wind, turbulence, gusts, and wind shear to provide simulation tools for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) design, testing, and evaluation within the West Virginia University (WVU) UAV simulation environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Analytical methods and experimental data are used to develop the simplified model for air mass motion as a superposition of four major components. Spatial gradients of relative air velocity vector projections are considered for modeling wind shear effects. The total contribution to relative air velocity from the four components in vehicle body axes is used within the WVU UAV simulation environment to calculate aerodynamic forces and moments. The simplified wind model is also interfaced with aircraft sub-system upset conditions models and different autonomous flight scenarios.

Findings

The simplified wind model developed provides simulation of different upset environment flight conditions with desirable levels of realism. It allows the testing, comparison, and evaluation of different trajectory tracking solutions for autonomous flight.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed simplified wind model facilitates the investigation of the effects of different atmospheric scenarios on the performance of trajectory generation algorithms and trajectory tracking control laws.

Practical implications

The proposed simplified wind model has been proved to be a high flexibility tool for simulation of UAVs under normal and abnormal flight conditions. It is expected to provide valuable support for the design and analysis of autonomous flight control laws.

Originality/value

This research effort provides a new capability for the advanced simulation of UAV autonomous flight with practically no additional computational cost. It adds an unprecedented level of detail and versatility to the UAV simulation toolkit within a very user-friendly framework aimed at supporting UAV design and analysis for optimal performance and safety under normal and abnormal flight conditions.

Keywords

Citation

Da Costa Siqueira, J., Perhinschi, M.G. and Al-Sinbol, G. (2017), "Simplified atmospheric model for UAV simulation and evaluation", International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems, Vol. 5 No. 2/3, pp. 63-82. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJIUS-07-2017-0007

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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