Development of an Unmanned Coaxial Rotorcraft for the DARPA UAVForge Challenge
In this paper, we present a comprehensive design for a fully functional unmanned rotorcraft system: GremLion. GremLion is a new smallscale unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) concept using two contra-rotating rotors and one cyclic swash-plate. It can fit within a rucksack and be easily carried by a single person. GremLion is developed with all necessary avionics and a ground control station. It has been employed to participate in the 2012 UAVForge competition. The proposed design of GremLion consists
... of hardware construction, software development, dynamics modeling and flight control design, as well as mission algorithm investigation. A novel computer-aided technique is presented to optimize the hardware construction of GremLion to realize robust and efficient flight behavior. Based on the above hardware platform, a real-time flight control software and a ground control station (GCS) software have been developed to achieve the onboard processing capability and the ground monitoring capability respectively. A GremLion mathematical model has been derived for hover and near hover flight conditions and identified from experimental data collected in flight tests. We have combined H 1 technique, a robust and perfect tracking (RPT) approach, and custom-defined flight scheduling to design a comprehensive nonlinear flight control law for GremLion and successfully realized the automatic control which includes take-off, hovering, and a variety of essential flight motions. In addition, advanced mission algorithms have been presented in the paper, including obstacle detection and avoidance, as well as target following. Both ground and flight experiments of the complete system have been conducted including autonomous hovering, waypoint flight, etc. The test results have been presented in this paper to verify the proposed design methodology.