Avionics System development for a Rotary Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Greer, Daniel S.
Russ W. Duren
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The Naval Postgraduate School has developed a successful Rapid Flight Test Prototyping System (RFTPS) for the development of software for remote computer control of fixed wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). This thesis reviews the work accomplished to mount sensors on a small remote controlled helicopter with instrumentation compatible with the RFTPS: an inertial measurement unit, a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, an altitude sensor and associated power supply and telemetry equipment. A helicopter with sufficient lift capability was selected and a lightweight aluminum structure was built to serve as both an avionics platform for the necessary equipment and also as a landing skid. Since the altitude sensors used for fixed wing UAV's, such as barometric sensors and GPS, do not provide sufficient accuracy for low altitude hover control, a lightweight, precision altimeter was developed using ultrasound technology. Circuitry was developed to drive a Polaroid 6500 Series Ranging Module and process the output data in a form compatible with the RFTPS avionics architecture. Flight testing revealed severe vibrations throughout the helicopter. An alternative avionics package of reduced size was constructed to house the sonic altimeter and a three-axis accelerometer. Subsequent test flight results and recommendations for further research are provided
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