Rotor and ducted-fan structured unmanned helicopters have shown energy efficiency in low flight speed and hovering, due to the novel ducted-fan structure. However, its aerodynamic characteristics may change dramatically when flight at higher speed, resulting in a wide flight envelope when compared with conventional structured helicopters. Hence, the flight controller is required to schedule itself based on the flight states and guarantees the overall performances of the helicopter on the entire flight envelop. This paper presents a switching system theory based approach to design the optimal controllers over a wide region of flight envelop. In the proposed method, a family of robust controller are designed based on typical operational conditions and the controller is adjusted to guarantee the stability when the switching event is trigged. A hysteresis switching logic is utilized to ensure smooth transient between specific operational subspaces. The stability of the proposed control method was analyzed through Lyapunov theory. Nonlinear simulations based flight dynamics of the prototype helicopter have demonstrated the flexibility and efficiency of the proposed work.
switching system robust control unmanned helicopter flight control
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