Table of Contents
ISRN Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 905865, 14 pages
Research Article

Lateral Control Implementation for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

1Mohammad Ali Jinnah University, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
2Centres of Excellence in Science & Applied Technologies (CESAT), Islamabad, Pakistan

Received 31 March 2013; Accepted 29 April 2013

Academic Editors: A. Desbiens, Z. Mazur, and K. Peng

Copyright © 2013 R. Samar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents practical aspects of guidance and control design for UAV and its flight test results. The paper focuses on the lateral-directional control and guidance aspects. An introduction to the mission and guidance problem is given first. Waypoints for straight and turning flight paths are defined. Computation of various flight path parameters is discussed, including formulae for real-time calculation of down-range (distance travelled along the desired track), cross-track deviation, and heading error of the vehicle; these are then used in the lateral guidance algorithm. The same section also describes how to make various mission-related decisions online during flight, such as when to start turning and when a waypoint is achieved. The lateral guidance law is then presented, followed by the design of a robust multivariable controller for roll control and stability augmentation. The controller uses the ailerons and rudder for control of roll angle and stabilization of yaw rate of the vehicle. The reference roll angle is generated by the nonlinear guidance law. The sensors available on-board the vehicle do not measure yaw rate; hence, a practical method of its estimation is proposed. The entire guidance and control scheme is implemented on the flight control computer of the actual aerial vehicle and taken to flight. Flight test results for different mission profiles are presented and discussed.