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Keywords:

  • UAV;
  • disturbance observer;
  • path following;
  • software-in-the-loop;
  • flight test

SUMMARY

This paper presents an alternative method of designing a guidance controller for a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) so as to perform path following under wind disturbances. The wind effects acting on UAVs need to be taken into account and eventually eliminated. To solve this problem, we adopted a disturbance observer-based control approach. The wind information is first estimated by a nonlinear disturbance observer, then it is incorporated into the nominal path following controller to formulate a composite controller that is able to compensate wind influences. The globally asymptotic stability of the composite controller is illustrated through theoretical analysis, whereas its performance is evaluated by various simulations including the one with software-in-the-loop. Initial flight tests using a small fixed-wing UAV are carried out to demonstrate its actual performance. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.