Control-Oriented Modeling and System Identification for Nonlinear Trajectory Tracking Control of a Small-Scale Unmanned Helicopter

  • Author / Creator
    Pourrezaei Khaligh, Sepehr
  • Model-based control design of small-scale helicopters involves considerable challenges due to their nonlinear and underactuated dynamics with strong couplings between the different degrees-of-freedom (DOFs). Most nonlinear model-based multi-input multi-output (MIMO) control approaches require the dynamic model of the system to be affine-in-control and fully actuated. Since the existing formulations for helicopter nonlinear dynamic model do not meet these requirements, these MIMO approaches cannot be applied for control of helicopters and control designs in the literature mostly use the linearized model of the helicopter dynamics around different trim conditions instead of directly using the nonlinear model. The purpose of this thesis is to derive the 6-DOF nonlinear model of the helicopter in an affine-in-control, non-iterative and square input-output formulation to enable many nonlinear control approaches, that require a control-affine and square model such as the sliding mode control (SMC), to be used for control design of small-scale helicopters. A combination of the first-principles approach and system identification is used to derive this model. To complete the nonlinear model of the helicopter required for the control design, the inverse kinematics of the actuating mechanisms of the main and tail rotors are also derived using an approach suitable for the real-time control applications. The parameters of the new control-oriented formulation are identified using a time-domain system identification strategy and the model is validated using flight test data. A robust sliding mode control (SMC) is then designed using the new formulation of the helicopter dynamics and its robustness to parameter uncertainties and wind disturbances is tested in simulations. Next, a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testbed is designed to allow for the control implementation and gain tuning as well as testing the robustness of the controller to external disturbances in a controlled environment on the ground. The controller is also tested in real flights.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Koch, Charles Robert (Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta)
    • Fahimi, Farbod (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Alabama in Huntsville)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Koch, Charles Robert (Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta)
    • Raboud, Donald (Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta)
    • Fahimi, Farbod (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Alabama in Huntsville)
    • Pieper, Jeff K. (Mechanical Engineering, University of Calgary)
    • Lynch, Alan (Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta)
    • Vehring, Reinhard (Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta)