Aerial recovery of autonomous micro air vehicles (MAVs) presents many unique challenges due to the difference in size and speed of the recovery vehicle and MAV. This thesis presents algorithms to enable an autonomous MAV to estimate the orbit of a recovery vehicle and track the orbit until the final docking phase. Methods for estimating ellipses that are rotated out of the x − y plane are developed and demonstrated through simulation. These algorithms are shown to be robust to noise and stable numerically. Parameter update methods that are computationally inexpensive, such as recursive least squares and Kalman filtering, are discussed and simulated. A discussion is given of orbit tracking algorithms for circular orbits, and these methods are expanded to include elliptical orbits. These algorithms enable the MAV to track the recovery vehicle's orbit, based on a vector field approach. The tracking algorithms are divided into lateral and longitudinal controllers that allow for tracking of inclined orbits. Finally, the hardware and software setup for live flight tests is discussed. Flight test results are given that validate the functionality of the orbit estimation and orbit tracking algorithms.
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Carlson, Daniel Clarke, "Aerial Recovery of Micro Air Vehicles: Orbit Estimation and Tracking" (2010). All Theses and Dissertations. 2399.
aerial recovery, unmanned air vehicles, micro air vehicles, towed cable systems, orbit estimation, orbit tracking