Towards High Speed Aerial Tracking of Agile Targets
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In order to provide a novel perspective for videography of high speed sporting events, a highly capable trajectory tracking control methodology is developed for a custom designed Kadet Senior Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The accompanying high fidelity system identification ensures that accurate flight models are used to design the control laws. A parallel vision based target tracking technique is also demonstrated and implemented on a Graphical Processing Unit (GPU), to assist in real-time tracking of the target. Nonlinear control techniques like feedback linearization require a detailed and accurate system model. This thesis discusses techniques used for estimating these models using data collected during planned test flights. A class of methods known as the Output Error Methods are discussed with extensions for dealing with wind turbulence. Implementation of these methods, including data acquisition details, on the Kadet Senior are also discussed. Results for this UAV are provided. For comparison, additional results using data from a BAC-221 simulation are also provided as well as typical results from the work done at the Dryden Flight Research Center. The proposed controller combines feedback linearization with linear tracking control using the internal model approach, and relies on a trajectory generating exosystem. Three different aircraft models are presented each with increasing levels of complexity, in an effort to identify the simplest controller that yields acceptable performance. The dynamic inversion and linear tracking control laws are derived for each model, and simulation results are presented for tracking of elliptical and periodic trajectories on the Kadet Senior.