A Hybrid Optical/GPS System for UAV Formation Flight Control
Small Business Information
34 Lexington Avenue, Ewing, NJ, 08618
Robert McKillip, Jr.
AbstractUAV operations in known icing conditions present a problem whose solution critically depends upon their flight testing in artificial icing environments. Unfortunately, instrumentation, control, and operational procedures have yet to be developed to support this testing behind manned aircraft, such as the U.S. Army CH-47 Helicopter Icing Spray System (HISS), that may produce the artificial icing cloud. The proposed work leverages a high-fidelity flight simulation tool to support the design and development of a sensor and controller package to enable this capability. The hybrid system combines both GPS guidance and optical detection of the UAV in trail flight to ensure that the UAV maintains a tightly controlled position within the icing spray cloud, while executing safe ingress and egress flight profiles as it approaches and departs the area of the CH-47 HISS aircraft. Phase I will provide risk reduction of the hybrid approach through tradeoff studies, comprehensive simulations, and benchtop tests. The simulation environment will leverage considerable CDI experience in highly accurate flowfield predictions around helicopter and fixed wing platforms, and will be used in a real-time evaluation of various control schemes for validation of the general system approach. Phase II will demonstrate the system on a small UAV platform.
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