A182 enabling outdoor formation flying via re-modelling of ground control station solutions
Aw, Zi Quan
Date of Issue2016
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Air Traffic Management Research Institute
In recent years, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have been gaining popularity in not just military applications, but also in leisure and commercial applications as well. They have been used to deliver packages, assist in professional videography, and also in infrastructural inspection. The potential in developing useful applications involving UAVs, particularly Quadcopters, is high. In this project, the focus will be on automatic formation flying development. Firstly, existing ways of executing formation flying is being examined. The Ground Control Station (GCS) is being to upload waypoints to the quadcopters before flight. An open source application called Mission Planner is being used as the ground station. The design of the flight path its waypoints are done via a software called Blender, which generates the waypoints in coordinates relative to an origin. Upon obtaining the waypoints, a method is studied and executed to convert these relative coordinates of the flying formation to absolute coordinates. This set of coordinates are then uploaded to the individual quadcopters one at a time. They would fly automatically as instructed by the waypoints upon take off. Formation flight was tested, and the results demonstrated the effectiveness and limitations of this method. Another method to execute formation flying is then examined. The GCS is capable of performing the flight in guided mode, where commands are issued in regular intervals. This addresses some limitations to the existing methods. However, the current GCS is only capable of enabling guided mode on a single quadcopter, therefore different approach have been studied in attempt to enable control and tracking of multiple quadcopter simultaneously. Software simulations have been done, and the results demonstrated the effectiveness and limitations of such method. The challenges and limitations of the project will be highlighted, and recommendation for future plans will be discussed.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University