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Article

Brenton K. Wilburn, Mario G. Perhinschi, Hever Moncayo, Ondrej Karas and Jennifer N. Wilburn

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and compare the performance of several different UAV trajectory tracking algorithms in normal and abnormal flight conditions to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze and compare the performance of several different UAV trajectory tracking algorithms in normal and abnormal flight conditions to investigate the fault‐tolerant capabilities of a novel immunity‐based adaptive mechanism.

Design/methodology/approach

The evaluation of these algorithms is performed using the West Virginia University (WVU) UAV simulation environment. Three types of fixed‐parameter algorithms are considered as well as their adaptive versions obtained by adding an immunity‐based mechanism. The types of control laws investigated are: position proportional, integral, and derivative control, outer‐loop nonlinear dynamic inversion (NLDI), and extended NLDI. Actuator failures on the three channels and increased turbulence conditions are considered for several different flight paths. Specific and global performance metrics are defined based on trajectory tracking errors and control surface activity.

Findings

The performance of all of the adaptive controllers proves to be better than their fixed parameter counterparts during the presence of a failure in all cases considered.

Research limitations/implications

The immunity inspired adaptation mechanism has promising potential to enhance the fault‐tolerant capabilities of autonomous flight control algorithms and the extension of its use at all levels within the control laws considered and in conjunction with other control architectures is worth investigating.

Practical implications

The WVU UAV simulation environment has been proved to be a valuable tool for autonomous flight algorithm development, testing, and evaluation in normal and abnormal flight conditions.

Originality/value

A novel adaptation mechanism is investigated for UAV control algorithms with fault‐tolerant capabilities. The issue of fault tolerance of UAV control laws has only been addressed in a limited manner in the literature, although it becomes critical in the context of imminent integration of UAVs within the commercial airspace.

Details

International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-6427

Keywords

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Article

Brenton K. Wilburn, Mario G. Perhinschi and Jennifer N. Wilburn

– The purpose of this paper is to gain trajectory-tracking controllers for autonomous aircraft are optimized using a modified evolutionary, or genetic algorithm (GA).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain trajectory-tracking controllers for autonomous aircraft are optimized using a modified evolutionary, or genetic algorithm (GA).

Design/methodology/approach

The GA design utilizes real representation for the individual consisting of the collection of all controller gains subject to tuning. The initial population is generated randomly over pre-specified ranges. Alternatively, initial individuals are produced as random variations from a heuristically tuned set of gains to increase convergence time. A two-point crossover mechanism and a probabilistic mutation mechanism represent the genetic alterations performed on the population. The environment is represented by a performance index (PI) composed of a set of metrics based on tracking error and control activity in response to a commanded trajectory. Roulette-wheel selection with elitist strategy are implemented. A PI normalization scheme is also implemented to increase the speed of convergence. A flexible control laws design environment is developed, which can be used to easily optimize the gains for a variety of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) control laws architectures.

Findings

The performance of the aircraft trajectory-tracking controllers was shown to improve significantly through the GA optimization. Additionally, the novel normalization modification was shown to encourage more rapid convergence to an optimal solution.

Research limitations/implications

The GA paradigm shows much promise in the optimization of highly non-linear aircraft trajectory-tracking controllers. The proposed optimization tool facilitates the investigation of novel control architectures regardless of complexity and dimensionality.

Practical implications

The addition of the evolutionary optimization to the WVU UAV simulation environment enhances significantly its capabilities for autonomous flight algorithm development, testing, and evaluation. The normalization methodology proposed in this paper has been shown to appreciably speed up the convergence of GAs.

Originality/value

The paper provides a flexible generalized framework for UAV control system evolutionary optimization. It includes specific novel structural elements and mechanisms for improved convergence as well as a comprehensive PI for trajectory tracking.

Details

International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-6427

Keywords

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Article

Ghassan Al-Sinbol, Mario G Perhinschi and Brenton K Wilburn

A simplified global positioning system (GPS) error model including models for a variety of abnormal operational conditions and failures is developed to provide simulation…

Abstract

Purpose

A simplified global positioning system (GPS) error model including models for a variety of abnormal operational conditions and failures is developed to provide simulation tools for the design, testing, and evaluation of autonomous flight fault tolerant control laws. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Analysis and experimental data are used to build simplified models for GPS position and velocity errors on all three channels. The GPS model is interfaced with West Virginia University unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) simulation environment and its utility demonstrated through simulation for several autonomous flight scenarios including GPS abnormal operation.

Findings

The proposed simplified GPS model achieves desirable levels of accuracy and realism for all components for the purpose of general UAV dynamic simulation and development of fault tolerant autonomous flight control laws.

Research limitations/implications

The simplified GPS model allows investigating GPS malfunction effects on the performance of autonomous UAVs and designing trajectory tracking algorithms with advanced fault tolerant capabilities.

Practical implications

The simplified GPS model has proved to be a flexible and useful tool for UAV simulation and design of autonomous flight control laws at normal and abnormal conditions.

Originality/value

The outcomes of this research effort achieve a level of detail never attempted before in modeling GPS operation at normal and abnormal conditions for UAV simulation and autonomous flight control laws design using a simplified framework.

Details

International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-6427

Keywords

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