Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Burg, Timothy C

Committee Member

Groff , Richard E

Committee Member

Wagner , John R


A three degree-of-freedom (DOF) planar test bed for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) controller evaluation was built. The test-bed consists of an instrumented tether and an experimental twin-rotor, planar UAV mounted with a one DOF manipulator mounted below the UAV body. The tether was constructed to constrain the UAV under test to motion on the surface of a sphere. Experiments can be conducted through the tether, approximating motion in a vertical plane by a UAV under test. The tether provides the means to measure the position and attitude of the UAV under test. The experimental twin-rotor UAV and one-link on-board manipulator, were designed and built to explore a unified control strategy for Manipulator on VTOL Aircraft (MOVA), in which the interaction of UAV body dynamics with the manipulator motion is of primary interest. The dynamics of the propulsion unit was characterized through experiments, based on which a phase lead compensator was designed to improve the UAV frequency response. A 'separate' controller based on independent nonlinear control of the VTOL aircraft and PD linear control of the on-board manipulator was designed as a reference for comparison to the unified MOVA controller. Tests with the separate controller show the negative effect that a coupled manipulator can have on the UAV body motion, while the tests on MOVA show the potential benefit of explicit compensation of the UAV and manipulator interaction.



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