Modelling and Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation for a Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
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Modeling and experimental identification results for a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) are presented. The numerical values of the aerodynamic derivatives are computed via the Digital DATCOM software using the geometric parameters of the airplane. Flight test data are utilized to identify the stability and control derivatives of the UAV. The aerodynamic angles are estimated and used in conjunction with inertial measurements in a batch parameter identification algorithm. A hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation environment is developed to support and validate the UAV autopilot hardware and software development. The HIL simulation incorporates a high-fidelity dynamic model that includes the sensor and actuator models, from the identified parameters from experiments. A user-friendly graphical interface that incorporates external stick commands and 3-D visualization of the vehicle’s motion completes the simulation environment. The hardware-in-the-loop setup is an indispensable tool for rapid certification of both the avionics hardware and the control software, while performing simulated flight tests with minimal cost and effort.