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Sensors 2011, 11(8), 7502-7529; doi:10.3390/s110807502

Integrated Flight Path Planning System and Flight Control System for Unmanned Helicopters

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 June 2011 / Revised: 20 July 2011 / Accepted: 22 July 2011 / Published: 28 July 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the design of an integrated navigation and guidance system for unmanned helicopters. The integrated navigation system comprises two systems: the Flight Path Planning System (FPPS) and the Flight Control System (FCS). The FPPS finds the shortest flight path by the A-Star (A*) algorithm in an adaptive manner for different flight conditions, and the FPPS can add a forbidden zone to stop the unmanned helicopter from crossing over into dangerous areas. In this paper, the FPPS computation time is reduced by the multi-resolution scheme, and the flight path quality is improved by the path smoothing methods. Meanwhile, the FCS includes the fuzzy inference systems (FISs) based on the fuzzy logic. By using expert knowledge and experience to train the FIS, the controller can operate the unmanned helicopter without dynamic models. The integrated system of the FPPS and the FCS is aimed at providing navigation and guidance to the mission destination and it is implemented by coupling the flight simulation software, X-Plane, and the computing software, MATLAB. Simulations are performed and shown in real time three-dimensional animations. Finally, the integrated system is demonstrated to work successfully in controlling the unmanned helicopter to operate in various terrains of a digital elevation model (DEM). View Full-Text
Keywords: unmanned helicopter; flight path planning system; flight control system; digital elevation model unmanned helicopter; flight path planning system; flight control system; digital elevation model
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jan, S.-S.; Lin, Y.-H. Integrated Flight Path Planning System and Flight Control System for Unmanned Helicopters. Sensors 2011, 11, 7502-7529.

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