Path Following for Unmanned Helicopter: An Approach on Energy Autonomy Improvement
In the last decades, the research efforts related to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) has grown substantially in terms of control stabilization and navigation strategies. However, the energy available on board is finite and this is a limiting factor that prevents engineers from coming up with the best aerial solution in many situations. In this paper the path following control of a helicopter UAV based on the kinematic model is proposed, using a feedback linearization technique. The helicopter speed is adjusted according to direction changes of the desired path. Thus, the aircraft should holds its own weight in the air for the shortest possible time, aiming to save energy without neglecting the position control errors which can accumulate when its velocity increases and path direction changes. The proposed controller output is coupled to a dynamic model of a helicopter in order to evaluate the dynamic effects and to adjust the controller parameters. The stability of the controller is demonstrated in the sense of Lyapunov theory and validated by simulation results.