|dc.contributor.author||Wilson, Daniel Briggs||-|
|dc.description.abstract||Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capability is currently limited by the amount of energy that can be stored onboard or the small amount that can be gathered from the environment. This has historically lead to large, expensive vehicles with considerable fuel capacity. Airborne docking, for aerial refueling, is a viable solution that has been proven through decades of implementation with manned aircraft, but had not been successfully tested or demonstrated with UAVs.
The prohibitive challenge is the highly accurate and reliable relative positioning performance that is required to dock with a small target, in the air, amidst external disturbances. GNSS-based navigation systems are well suited for reliable absolute positioning, but fall short for accurate relative positioning. Direct, relative sensor measurements are precise, but can be unreliable in dynamic environments.
This work proposes an experimentally verified guidance, navigation and control solution that enables a UAV to autonomously rendezvous and dock with a drogue that is being towed by another autonomous UAV. A nonlinear estimation framework uses precise air-to-air visual observations to correct onboard sensor measurements and produce an accurate relative state estimate. The state of the drogue is estimated using known geometric and inertial characteristics and air-to-air observations. Setpoint augmentation algorithms compensate for leader turn dynamics during formation flight, and drogue physical constraints during docking.
Vision-aided close formation flight has been demonstrated over extended periods; as close as 4 m; in wind speeds in excess of 25 km/h; and at altitudes as low as 15 m. Docking flight tests achieved numerous airborne connections over multiple flights, including five successful docking manoeuvres in seven minutes of a single flight. To the best of our knowledge, these are the closest formation flights performed outdoors and the first UAV airborne docking.||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||University of Sydney||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||Faculty of Engineering and IT||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering||en_AU|
|dc.title||Guidance, Navigation and Control for UAV Close Formation Flight and Airborne Docking||en_AU|
|dc.type.pubtype||Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D.||en_AU|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|