A Hybrid Optical/GPS System for UAV Formation Flight Control
Small Business Information
34 Lexington Avenue, Ewing, NJ, 08618
AbstractQualifying UAVs for operation in known icing conditions presents a problem whose solution critically depends upon the ability to conduct flight tests in controlled 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 can produce the required icing cloud. Phase I demonstrated the feasibility of a hybrid system that combined GPS and inertial guidance signals with optical detection of a UAV in trail flight to ensure that the UAV maintains a tightly controlled position within the icing cloud, while executing safe ingress and egress flight profiles in the area of the CH-47 HISS aircraft. The proposed Phase II will continue this promising development path, leveraging high-fidelity flight simulation tools to support finalization of the design and development of the required sensor and controller package. Phase II will also entail a stepped sequence of benchtop and ground tests of system components, culminating in a series of flight tests on a small UAV with increasing levels of realism during the second year of the effort that will enable rapid transition to operational use.
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