Control vane guidance for a ducted-fan unmanned air vehicle
Moran, Patrick J.
Howard, Richard M.
Shields, Michael K.
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Control of airborne vehicles was originally conceived to be done entirely by human pilots. Improvements in electronics in the last 50 years have allowed many flight control functions to become automated, with the pilot continuously monitoring flight parameters from within the vehicle cockpit. With the advent of small unmanned air vehicles (UAV's) which are limited in size and weight-carrying capacity, a pilot is now able to fly an airborne vehicle from a distant ground-fixed position. Miniature electronic instruments control or direct vehicle movements either through pilot commands or autonomously. In order to accomplish reliable, continuous control of a UAV, many sensors are necessary aboard the vehicle. This thesis designed and installed necessary hardware and developed software to guide a UAV's aerodynamic control vanes, with feedback from sensors aboard the vehicle, in order to facilitate ground-based pilot control. Previous thesis work accomplished on this project achieved control of a UAV, named Archytas, in one degree-of-freedom, roll, while mounted on a test stand. Umbilical-controlled guidance of Archytas' control vanes from a forward- mounted sensor pod was set as the goal for this phase of the Archytas project. This work focused on modification of hardware to generate and access required signals, programming of analog-to-digital (A/D) and counter/timer peripheral boards mounted in a personal computer to control electrical and signal flow, and implementation of single-input-single-output (SISO) control equations developed concurrently in another thesis
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