An adaptable, low cost test-bed for unmanned vehicle systems research

James M Goppert, Purdue University


An unmanned vehicle systems test-bed has been developed. The test-bed has been designed to accommodate hardware changes and various vehicle types and algorithms. The creation of this test-bed allows research teams to focus on algorithm development and employ a common well-tested experimental framework. The ArduPilotOne autopilot was developed to provide the necessary level of abstraction for multiple vehicle types. The autopilot was also designed to be highly integrated with the Mavlink protocol for Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) communication. Mavlink is the native protocol for QGroundControl, a MAV ground control program. Features were added to QGroundControl to accommodate outdoor usage. Next, the Mavsim toolbox was developed for Scicoslab to allow hardware-in-the-loop testing, control design and analysis, and estimation algorithm testing and verification. In order to obtain linear models of aircraft dynamics, the JSBSim flight dynamics engine was extended to use a probabilistic Nelder-Mead simplex method. The JSBSim aircraft dynamics were compared with wind-tunnel data collected. Finally, a structured methodology for successive loop closure control design is proposed. This methodology is demonstrated along with the rest of the test-bed tools on a quadrotor, a fixed wing RC plane, and a ground vehicle. Test results for the ground vehicle are presented.^




Inseok Hwang, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Engineering, Aerospace|Artificial Intelligence|Computer Science

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