Date of Award

12-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Burg, Timothy C

Committee Member

Dawson , Darren M

Committee Member

Birchfield , Stanley T

Abstract

A quadrotor is an under actuated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which uses thrust from four rotors to provide six degrees of freedom. This thesis outlines the development of a general purpose test bed that can be used for sensor and control algorithm development. The system includes the means to simulate a proposed controller and then a hardware in the loop implementation using the same software. The test bed was assembled and verified with a linear controller for both attitude and position control using feedback from an IMU (Inertial measurement Unit) and a Global Position System (GPS) sensor.
The linear controller was first implemented as a PID controller which attempts to control the attitude of the quadrotor. The controller was simulated successfully and then experiments were conducted on a DraganFlyer X-Pro quadrotor to verify the closed loop control. The experiments conducted checked the response of the quadrotor angles to the commanded angles. The controller gains were tuned to provide stable hover in all three angles.
The Videre stereo vision system was investigated as a sensor to estimate height of the UAV above the ground. Experiments were performed that show that show static (no motion of the camera) estimates over the range 0.5 - 4 meters. The accuracy of these measurements suggest that the system may provide improved height estimation, over WAAS corrected GPS. A means to add this sensor into the UAV test bed is discussed.

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