Carrier-phase GNSS Attitude Determination and Control for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Applications

Roberto Sabatini*,Anish Kah


As part of our recent research to assess the potential of low-cost navigation sensors for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) applications, we investigated the potential of carrier-phase Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for attitude determination and control of small size UAVs. Recursive optimal estimation algorithms were developed for combining multiple attitude measurements obtained from different observation points (i.e., antenna locations), and their efficiencies were tested in various dynamic conditions. The proposed algorithms converged rapidly and produced the required output even during high dynamics manoeuvres. Results of theoretical performance analysis and simulation activities are presented in this paper, with emphasis on the advantages of the GNSS interferometric approach in UAV applications (i.e., low cost, high data-rate, low volume/weight, low signal processing requirements, etc.). The simulation activities focussed on the AEROSONDE UAV platform and considered the possible augmentation provided by interferometric GNSS techniques to a low-cost and low-weight/volume integrated navigation system (presented in the first part of this series) which employed a Vision-Based Navigation (VBN) system, a Micro- Electro-Mechanical Sensor (MEMS) based Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and code-range GNSS (i.e., GPS and GALILEO) for position and velocity computations. The integrated VBN-IMU-GNSS (VIG) system was augmented using the inteferometric GNSS Attitude Determination (GAD)sensor data and a comparison of the performance achieved with the VIG and VIG/GAD integrated Navigation and Guidance Systems (NGS) is presented in this paper. Finally, the data provided by these NGS are used to optimise the design of a hybrid controller employing Fuzzy Logic and Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) techniques for the AEROSONDE UAV.

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