Though multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become widely used during the past decade, challenges in autonomy have prevented their widespread use when moving vehicles act as their base stations. Emerging use cases, including maritime surveillance, package delivery and convoy support, require UAVs to autonomously operate in this scenario. This thesis presents improved solutions to both the state estimation and control problems that must be solved to enable robust, autonomous landing of multirotor UAVs onto moving vehicles.Current state-of-the-art UAV landing systems depend on the detection of visual fiducial markers placed on the landing target vehicle. However, in challenging conditions, such as poor lighting, occlusion, or extreme motion, these fiducial markers may be undected for significant periods of time. This thesis demonstrates a state estimation algorithm that tracks and estimates the locations of unknown visual features on the target vehicle. Experimental results show that this method significantly improves the estimation of the state of the target vehicle while the fiducial marker is not detected.This thesis also describes an improved control scheme that enables a multirotor UAV to accurately track a time-dependent trajectory. Rooted in Lie theory, this controller computes the optimal control signal based on an error-state formulation of the UAV dynamics. Simulation and hardware experiments of this control scheme show its accuracy and computational efficiency, making it a viable solution for use in a robust landing system.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





state estimation, optimal control, unmanned vehicles, autonomous vehicles, error state, multirotor, micro air vehicle, linear quadratic regulator, LQR, UAV

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Engineering Commons