Pushing the Envelope: A Novel Hybrid Vehicle Design and Real-Time Control Concept

E. Earon, C.A. Rabbath, and J. Apkarian (Canada)


UAV, hybrid vehicle, unmanned systems, Almost Lighter than Air Vehicle (ALTAV), robust systems, vehicle control


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are rapidly finding application in a variety of fields and as they do the demand for improvements in vehicle performance and control also escalates. Though a great deal of research has been directed to the field of unmanned and autonomous aircraft, it has been primarily through the lens of traditional fixed-wing aircraft. A number of applications exist, including a variety of surveillance and remote sensing tasks, for which the ability to hover is a strong requirement. Rotary-wing aircraft such as helicopters can fill this need but have difficulty achieving the required payload and mission duration goals and are sensitive to failures. Airships and lighter-than-air-vehicles have very high persistence capabilities and have low power requirements but are difficult to control at low speed and suffer poor performance in windy conditions. This paper discusses the unique real-time control design for and development of a novel, highly redundant hybrid UAV platform able to demonstrate precision hover and efficient translation for longer mission durations. The vehicle combines the low power-long duration aspects of airships with the manoeuvrability and control of such hovering vehicles as rotary winged aircraft.

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