Adaptive control for modular vertical lift air vehicles
MetadataShow full item record
Modular vertical lift air vehicles are comprised of individual vertical lift vehicles connected to a payload for the purposes of cooperative manipulation and transportation. This method of payload manipulation has unique advantages in terms of scalability, flexibility, and robustness to vehicle failure due to redundancy. However, there are numerous difficulties with designing and controlling such systems ranging from mechanical complexity of attachment devices to control allocation and robustness to uncertainty. This thesis explores various aspects of modular air vehicle design and control. A simulation model is first described which supports high-fidelity simulation of vehicle- payload attachment, payload transportation, and vehicle-payload detachment. A control allocation scheme is also proposed for cooperative payload manipulation. Simulation studies using this control allocation scheme examine flight performance and energy consumption in example scenarios where modular vertical lift vehicles cooperatively transport various payloads, including bluff bodies and airfoil shapes. Further studies analyze effectiveness of an extended Kalman filter in providing key geometric and mass center location values to the control scheme. Finally, the mechanical design of a modular vertical lift vehicle is provided, including experimentally-derived estimates of thrust and energy consumption.