Longitudinal control of transition to powered flight for a parachute-dropped multirotor

Tomas I. Opazo, Jack W. Langelaan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The problem of controlling the safe transition of a multirotor vehicle between its release from a parachute to the moment it reaches steady state flight is analyzed. The problems of optimal trajectory, controller tuning, safety and stability to initial conditions are also studied. The proposed solution involves a two step process to find a safe controller. First, an optimal control problem is defined and then transcribed, using a direct collocation method, into a nonlinear programming problem. Second, the trajectory error for a subset of initial conditions is calculated, and the worst case is defined as the overall cost. This emerging Min-Max problem is then solved using particle swarm optimization to obtain the best set of controller gains. In order to evaluate performance, a cost function based on margins between the vehicle’s state and their respective maximum allowable values was defined. Monte Carlo simulations were ran over the space of possible initial conditions. The combination of optimal trajectory and particle swarm derived controller gains results in an average state cost reduction of 23% when compared to a near-hover controller derived using Ziegler–Nichols method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2020 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105951
StatePublished - 2020
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2020 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Jan 6 2020Jan 10 2020

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2020 Forum
Volume1 PartF


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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