Development and implementation of guidance, navigation and control systems for an autonomous air vehicle



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Small Autonomous Air Vehicles (AAV) provide a framework for numerous educational opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These systems emphasize the interplay between several engineering education areas (i.e. dynamic system modeling, control systems, and embedded programming) and provide exciting applications for numerous research areas (i.e. nonlinear controls, image processing, and distributed consensus problems).The main roadblock in extending AAV use for educational purposes at Texas Tech University has been the absence of autonomous Guidance, Navigation and Control systems. Commercial solutions are available, but at a significant and often prohibitive cost.

A novel tiered subsystem GNC design utilizing infrared sensors for attitude stabilization and a vector field path following algorithm for guidance solutions is proposed. Two autopilot designs are proposed and their relative performance is compared via simulation. The complete system design is evaluated using a nonlinear, six degree-of-freedom simulation model. A hardware and software implementation of the GNC design is verified using Hardware-in-the-Loop simulation and future work is suggested.