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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3071

Title: Fault tolerant attitude sensing and force feedback control for unmanned aerial vehicles
Authors: Jagadish, Chirag
Keywords: Mechanical engineering;Drone aircraft;Fault tolerance (Engineering)
Issue Date: 31-Jul-2009
Abstract: Two aspects of an unmanned aerial vehicle are studied in this work. One is fault tolerant attitude determination and the other is to provide force feedback to the joy-stick of the UAV so as to prevent faulty inputs from the pilot. Determination of attitude plays an important role in control of aerial vehicles. One way of defining the attitude is through Euler angles. These angles can be determined based on the measurements of the projections of the gravity and earth magnetic fields on the three body axes of the vehicle. Attitude determination in unmanned aerial vehicles poses additional challenges due to limitations of space, payload, power and cost. Therefore it provides for almost no room for any bulky sensors or extra sensor hardware for backup and as such leaves no room for sensor fault issues either. In the face of these limitations, this study proposes a fault tolerant computing of Euler angles by utilizing multiple different computation methods, with each method utilizing a different subset of the available sensor measurement data. Twenty-five such methods have been presented in this document. The capability of computing the Euler angles in multiple ways provides a diversified redundancy required for fault tolerance. The proposed approach can identify certain sets of sensor failures and even separate the reference fields from the disturbances. A bank-to-turn maneuver of the NASA GTM UAV is used to demonstrate the fault tolerance provided by the proposed method as well as to demonstrate the method of determining the correct Euler angles despite interferences by inertial acceleration disturbances. Attitude computation is essential for stability. But as of today most UAVs are commanded remotely by human pilots. While basic stability control is entrusted to machine or the on-board automatic controller, overall guidance is usually with humans. It is therefore the pilot who sets the command/references through a joy-stick. While this is a good compromise between complete automation and complete human control, it still poses some unique challenges. Pilots of manned aircraft are present inside the cockpit of the aircraft they fly and thus have a better feel of the flying environment and also the limitations of the flight. The same might not be true for UAV pilots stationed on the ground. A major handicap is that visual feedback is the only one available for the UAV pilot. An additional parameter like force feedback on the remote control joy-stick can help the UAV pilot to physically feel the limitation of the safe flight envelope. This can make the flying itself easier and safer. A method proposed here is to design a joy-stick assembly with an additional actuator. This actuator is controlled so as to generate a force feedback on the joy-stick. The control developed for this system is such that the actuator allows free movement for the pilot as long as the UAV is within the safe flight envelope. On the other hand, if it is outside this safe range, the actuator opposes the pilot’s applied torque and prevents him/her from giving erroneous commands to the UAV.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3071
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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