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Missions. Environmental constraints (targets, obstacles, threats). High-Level Control Formation determination Cooperative observation/action. Environmental Condition Monitoring & Active Model. Internal constraints. Commands. Internal Condition Monitoring & Active Model.

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Environmental constraints

(targets, obstacles, threats)

High-Level Control

Formation determination

Cooperative observation/action


Condition Monitoring

& Active Model





Condition Monitoring

& Active Model

Onboard Sub-optimal

Path Planning

Active states, uncertainties

dynamic parameters, faults, damage



Low-Level Control

Robust/adaptive control

Sensory data


Distributed Sensors

Radar, vision, etc


engine input

Vehicle Model

Nonlinear dynamics, engine model,

aero & atmospheric model

Coordinated Control, Integrated Control and

Condition Monitoring in Uninhabited Air-Vehicles

Ian Postlethwaite, Da-Wei Gu, Sarah Blaney, Kannan Natesan and Yoonsoo Kim

Coordinated Control

The aim of this area of research is to develop algorithms for “optimal” task assignment and “safe” flight path selection in real-time for application in uncertain and hazardous environments.

We are focussing on real-time 3-D path planning algorithms for (multiple) UAVs working in three dimensions and making use of the following techniques: Voronoi graphs, Visibility graphs, mixed integer linear programming, extensive local search and a new approach called “bouncing”.

Condition Monitoring

We will develop fault detection mechanisms for use in a fault tolerant flight control system, which can automatically adapt for failures sustained during a mission thereby maintaining adequate flight performance and stability.

Integrated Control



Control surfaces


optimal controller

Demonstrator model

+ uncertainties

Distributed (virtual) Sensors

We will design and implement robust and optimal flight control systems for the Demonstrator. Primary flight controllers are to be integrated with engine control systems, condition monitoring and new actuators such as fluidic thrust vectoring and circulation control devices.

We will also explore the potential of multiple sensors (sensor arrays) distributed across an airframe to provide virtual air data for use in the health monitoring and improved control of future UAVs.

Progress and Plan for Next 12 Months

The work in the past year has been focussed on Coordinated Control and Integrated Control. A software package has been developed for the flight path planning task. The package incorporates several planning methods and is able to run in real-time and deal with uncertain situations. The package will be further developed in the near future to generate flight paths in 3-D. Algorithms for coordinated mission task planning are currently under development. Some initial robust control systems have been designed for the Demonstrator model. These designs will be extended to include the whole flight envelope. Control schemes which explore FTV (fluidic thrust vectoring) and CC (circulation control) actuators will be a major development. A health management/condition monitoring system is also planned