Title: Model-based development of MAV altitude control via ground-based equipment

Authors: Stephen Wright

Addresses: Department of Engineering, Mathematics and Design, University of West of England, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, UK

Abstract: This paper presents the development and demonstration of an automated altitude controller for a very low weight micro air vehicle (MAV) (i.e., less than 15 g), via low-cost ground-based equipment, and without the provision of active telemetry data from the airframe. This approach contrasts with other current technologies, which generally seek to place greater functionality within the airframe itself. It is shown that development of a suitable control algorithm is most efficiently achieved by simultaneous creation of an appropriate system dynamic model, allowing stable control laws to be developed away from the unpredictable flight-test environment, and model development to be verified against flight-test data. The methodology is practically demonstrated with a simple commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) MAV whose internal stabilisation controller is not available for modification and has no facility for transmission of airframe parameters to the controlling ground-station.

Keywords: quadcopter; UAV; micro air vehicle; MAV; visual tracking; control; ground-effect; modelling.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMIC.2017.087059

International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control, 2017 Vol.28 No.4, pp.361 - 369

Received: 22 Apr 2016
Accepted: 24 Dec 2016

Published online: 23 Aug 2017 *

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