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**Oct. 17-20, 2007 in COEX, Seoul, Korea
**

Autopilot Design of Tilt-rotor UAV

Using Particle Swarm Optimization Method

Jang-Ho Lee ~, Byoung-Mun Min 2 and Eung-Tai Kim 3

Advanced Flight Control Department, Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Daejon, Korea

(Tel : +82-42-860-2296; E-mail: jh7677@kari.re.kr)

2 Department of Aerospace Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejon, Korea

(Tel : +81-42-869-3789; E-mail: bmmin@fdcl.kaist.ac.kr)

3 Advanced Flight Control Department, Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Daejon, Korea

(Tel: +82-42-860-2345; E-mail: eungkim@kari.re.kr)

Abstract: This paper describes an autopilot design of tilt-rotor UAV, which is being developed by KARl as a Smart

UAV Development Program in Korea, using particle swarm optimization (PSO) method. The tilt-rotor UAV considered

in this paper holds five control modes in the stability and control augmentation system (SCAS) depending on flight

mode. Flight control systems designed via the classical approach have been performed in such a way that yields linear

models about several trim flight conditions, designing linear controllers for each condition, and integrating these design

points with a gain scheduling scheme. However, it is very tedious and time-consuming to design an autopilot of a

tilt-rotor UAV which represents various dynamic characteristics, nonlinearity, and uncertainty via classical control

technique, because there are many design points and operating conditions throughout the flight envelope. To solve this

problem, an automatic tool for control system design using PSO method is developed and applied to autopilot design of

tilt-rotor UAV. The desired output of control system is chosen to satisfy the control system requirement. Gain margin

and phase margin of control system are additionally considered as a penalty term in the objective function. The

designed control system guarantees the satisfaction of the control system requirement ensuring a sufficient stability

margin of the control system. Also, the gain scheduling scenario and SCAS switching logic of each control mode are

successfully designed. Fully nonlinear 6-DOF simulation for an automatic landing scenario is performed to verify the

performance of autopilot system of tilt-rotor UAV. The results from the nonlinear simulation show good control

performance of the tilt-rotor UAV.

Keywords: Tilt-rotor UAV, Autopilot Design, Particle Swarm Optimization

1. I NTRODUCTI ON

This paper describes an autopilot design of a tilt-rotor

UAV, which is being developed by KARl as a Smart

UAV Development Program in Korea, using particle

swarm optimization (PSO)method. Tilt-rotor UAV

features the hovering performance of a helicopter and

cruising performance of a turboprop airplane according

to a change in the tilt angle of wing tip mounted

prop-rotors. The conversion of flight modes between

helicopter and airplane configurations necessitates a

different control strategy. The tilt-rotor UAV considered

in this paper holds six control modes in the stability and

control augmentation system (SCAS) depending on

flight modes. Ground, inertial velocity, and forward

modes are contained in helicopter flight mode

conversion or RPM conversion modes in conversion

flight mode and airplane mode in airplane flight mode.

The control architecture of SCAS in longitudinal and

lateral channels and the role of four control sticks;

collective, longitudinal cyclic, lateral cyclic, and pedal,

are different in each control mode.

The classical control technique has been widely

studied and successfully applied to aircraft flight control

systems. Flight control systems designed via the

classical approach have been performed in such a way

to yield linear models about several trim flight

conditions, designing linear controllers for each

condition, and integrating these design points with a

gain scheduling scheme. However, it is very tedious and

time-consuming to design an autopilot for tilt-rotor

UAV which represents various dynamic characteristics,

nonlinearity, and uncertainty via classical control

technique, because there are many design points and

operating conditions throughout the flight envelope. To

solve this problem, an automatic tool for control system

design using PSO method is developed and applied to

autopilot design of tilt-rotor UAV. PSO is one of the

simplest and fastest optimization algorithms. It shows

some similarity with evolutionary algorithms except for

reproduction and mutation processes. In this process,

the controller gain set of each control mode is

determined to minimize the objective function which is

the sum of square error between the desired output and

actual output of control system. The desired output of

the control system is chosen to satisfy the control

system requirement. Gain margin and phase margin of

control system are additionally considered as a penalty

term in the objective function. The designed control

system guarantees the satisfaction of the control system

requirement ensuring a sufficient stability margin of the

control system. Also, gain scheduling scenario and

SCAS switching logic of each control mode are

successfully designed. Fully nonlinear 6-DOF

simulation for an automatic landing scenario is

performed to verify the performance of autopilot system

978-89-950038-6-2-98560/07/$15 @ICROS

1629

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of tilt-rotor UAV. The results from the nonlinear

simulation show good control performance of tilt-rotor

UAV.

2. PSO ALGORITHM

The particle swarm optimization (PSO) has been

successfully applied in function optimization problems.

In this paper, we attempted to obtain the gain of linear

controller by converting an autopilot design problem to

a parameter optimization problem.

The PSO is one of the evolutionary computation

techniques introduced by Kennedy and Eberhart in 1995

[3]. The PSO algorithm is similar to evolutionary

computation in producing a random population initially

and generating the next population based on current cost,

but it does not need reproduction or mutation to produce

the next generation. Thus, PSO is faster in finding

solutions compared to any other evolutionary

computation technique. In the PSO algorithm, each

particle is moving, and hence has a velocity. Also, each

particle remembers the position it was in and where it

had its best result so far. Moreover, the particles in the

swarm co-operate exchanging information about what

they have discovered in the search region they have

visited. The basic PSO algorithm can be summarized as

follows;

2.1 Basic PSO Algorithm

1. Initialize a population of particles with random

position and velocity.

( )

( )

0 min max min

0 min max min

i

i

x x rand x x

v v rand v v

= + × −

= + × −

(1)

2. For each particle, evaluate the fitness value.

3. Compare a particle’s fitness evaluation with

particle’s pbest (p

i

k

). Exchange the particle’s

fitness value and position with pbest, if it is

better.

4. Compare a particle’s fitness evaluation with the

population’s overall previous best, gbest (p

g

k

).

Exchange the particle’s fitness value and

position with gbest, if it is better.

5. Update the velocity and the position of the

particle according to following update equations.

( ) ( )

1 1 1 2 2

i i i i g i

k k k k k k

v wv c r p x c r p x

+

= + − + −

1 1

i i i

k k k

x x v

+ +

= + (2)

6. Loop to step 2 until the given criterion is met.

In the velocity update equation of Eq. (2), w, c

1

, and

c

2

mean inertia weight, self and swarm confidence

factors, respectively. Also, r

1

, and r

2

are random

numbers on the interval [0, 1].

Fig. 1 Flowchart of the proposed PSO algorithm

2.2 Formulation of Performance Index

The PSO algorithm has been developed that uses a

numerical optimization method. In general, parameters

to optimize are evaluated by performance index in the

numerical optimization method. Therefore, the way of

defining the performance index effect on the optimized

results considerably. In order to evaluate optimal control

gains that satisfy performance requirements of the

control system, the cost function is evaluated as

following expression.

(3)

Where is the reference which is considered the

performance requirements of control system, is

the output of the real system and is the weight

function. At this time, the reference is set to represent

response characteristics of the second order system with

the required damping and frequency. and are

constraints and weights respectively. That is added with

the cost function as a penalty term. The constraints in

Eq. (3) can be set by a designer. This representation

would be useful for problems the parameters to be

determined can be solved in time domain with system

response.

Our proposed algorithm in this paper can deal with

various constrains that are gain margin, phase margin,

rising time, maximum overshoot and requirements of

handling qualities, etc.

∑

∫

=

+ − =

n

i

i i

t

t

out ref

c w dt y y t W J

f

1

2

} ) )( ( {

0

ref

y

) (t W

i

w

i

c

out

y

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3. APPLICATION TO AUTOPILOT DESIGN

OF TILT-ROTOR UAV

3.1 Tilt-Rotor UAV

The tilt-rotor UAV has been developed by Korea

Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) for a robust and

intelligent tilt rotor UAV exhibiting high-speed cruise

and vertical take-off and landing capabilities since

2002.[1] The tilt-rotor UAV shown in figure 2 will

perform various civil missions including disaster

detection and management, weather forecasting, and

environmental monitoring, etc.

Fig. 2 Tilt-Rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Smart UAV)

For reference, the Smart UAV controls operate as

shown in figure 3.

(a) helicopter mode (b) airplane mode

Fig. 3 Control Method for Smart UAV

In helicopter mode, pitch control is archived through

longitudinal cyclic, roll control through both differential

collective pitch and lateral cyclic, yaw through

differential longitudinal cyclic and heave through

collective pitch with rotor governing. In conversion

mode, the rotor controls are gradually blended out. In

airplane mode, tilting control is locked out.

3.2 Autopilot Design of Smart UAV

In the autopilot design problem, it is difficult to

systematically determine the controller gain satisfying

the required performance and guaranteeing sufficient

stability. This problem may be easily treated by

applying the parameter optimization technique,

especially where the control system architecture is

predetermined and the controller is a linear controller.

In this approach, all particles, which are essentially

controller gain candidates, fly to minimize the cost

function defined by the sum of square errors between

the desired response and the actual response of a plant.

At this moment, stability requirements are dealt with

and constraints are included in the cost function as a

penalty function.

The proposed approach has some advantages in

directly handling nonlinear dynamics and easily

changing the structure of autopilot systems. In this

section, we design an attitude-hold autopilot for

tilt-rotor UAV applying the proposed method.

Figure 4 and figure 5 are the attitude-hold autopilot

configuration of the pitch and the roll axis respectively

for the Smart UAV.

Fig. 4 Attitude autopilot structure of pitch axis

Fig. 5 Attitude autopilot structure of roll axis

In this problem, the total number of controller gains

to be determined in pitch axis is 4; K

q

, K

θ

, K

p

, and K

I

.

All controller gains of inner loop and outer loop are

obtained as a parameter set. The desired output of

attitude-hold autopilot is in Eq. (4) and the cost function

and constraints are shown in Eq. (5).

(4)

(5)

Longitudinal Cyclic

Collective Pitch with

Rotor Governing

Differential Collective Pitch

and Lateral Cyclic

Differential

Longitudinal Cyclic

Elevator

Collective Pitch with

Rotor Governing

Aileron with Differential

Collective Pitch for ARI

Differential Collective

Pitch without Rudder

Pitch

Thrust

Roll

Yaw

Pitch

Thrust

Roll

Yaw

s rad s rad

s

s y

n

n n

n

ref

/ 0 . 4 / 0 . 3

7 . 0

2

) (

2 2

≤ ≤

≥

+ +

=

ω

ζ

ω ζω

ω

deg 45 :

7 :

) (

2

1

2

1

2

≥

≥

+ − =

∑

=

PM g

dB GM g

g w y y J

i i

i

out ref

1631

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The control performance of attitude-hold and linear

velocity hold(DP-02) autopilots in pitch and roll axis are

shown in figure 6 and figure 7 respectively. The DP-02

is the inertial velocity mode in the helicopter mode in

which the longitudinal and lateral control stick inputs

command control the forward and lateral velocity of the

aircraft. And the others are the attitude-hold autopilot

modes in helicopter mode.

The blue and the cyan lines represent a design

requirements boundary of natural frequency and

damping ratio. The red line represents the time response

of pitch angle. From the results, autopilot with PI

controller and with controller gains determined by the

proposed method, shows satisfactory performance. Also,

autopilot with a different type controller can be easily

designed by the proposed approach.

Fig. 6 The control performance of attitude and velocity

autopilot of pitch axis in helicopter mode

Fig. 7 The control performance of attitude and velocity

autopilot of roll axis in helicopter mode

Figure 8 shows a stability margin of the all flight mode

in pitch and roll axis. Note that the design requirements

of the gain margin and phase margin are over 7dB and

over 45deg. From the results, the stability margin meets

the design requirement in all flight mode using the

particle swarm optimization method.

Fig. 8 The stability margin of the Smart UAV

4. CONCLUSIONS

In this paper, we proposed a method for tilt-rotor

UAV autopilot design by parameter optimization

technique. Moreover, autopilots for tilt-rotor UAV were

designed by applying the proposed method. From the

analysis of design results, we conclude that the

proposed method is a more efficient and flexible

technique in autopilot design problems. From the

autopilot design of tilt-rotor, the following observation

and conclusions can be drawn:

• The autopilot of Smart UAV has been designed

successfully using the particle swarm optimization

(PSO) method.

• The proposed approach has a advantages in directly

handling nonlinear dynamics and easily changing the

structure of autopilot systems.

• The stability margin of the Smart UAV meets the

design requirement in all flight mode using the particle

swarm optimization method.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This paper was performed for Smart UAV Development

Program, one of the 21

st

Century Frontier R&D

Programs funded by the Ministry of Commerce,

Industry and Energy of Korea.

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

φ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-01 : Ground Mode

response

ref output

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

v

(

k

p

h

)

DP-02 : Inertial Velocit y Mode

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

φ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-03 : Forward Mode-20KPH

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

φ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-04 : Forward Mode-40KPH

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

φ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-05 : Forward Mode-60KPH

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

φ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-06 : Forward Mode-80KPH

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

θ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-01 : Ground Mode

response

reference

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

u

(

k

p

h

)

DP-02 : Inertial Velocity Mode

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

θ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-03 : Forward Mode-20KPH

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

θ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-04 : Forward Mode-40KPH

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

θ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-05 : Forward Mode-60KPH

0 5 10 15 20

0

0.5

1

time (sec)

θ

(

d

e

g

)

DP-06 : Forward Mode-80KPH

1632

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REFERENCES

[1] S. J. Hwang, M. K. Lee, Y. S. Kim & J. M. Kim,

“Prop-rotor Load Evaluation in Collision

Avoidance Maneuver of Tilt Rotor Unmanned

Aerial Vehicle”, AHS Vertical Lift Aircraft Design

Conference, Jan. 18-20, 2006.

[2] R. L. Marr and G. B. Churchill, “Flight Control

System Development for the XV-15 Tilt rotor

Aircrfat”, AHS 32

nd

Annual V/STOL Forum, May,

1976.

[3] Kennedy, J. and Eberhart. R., “Particle Swarm

Optimization,” Proceedings of the IEEE

International Conference on Neural Network, Perth,

Australia, 1995

[4] Michael A. Meyer and Gareth D. Padfield, “First

Steps in the Development of Handling Qualities

Criteria for a Civil Tiltrotor,” American Helicopter

Society 58

th

Annual Forum, Montreal, Canada,

June 11-13, 2002

[5] Stevens, B. L. and Lewis, F. L., Aircraft Control

and Simulation, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New

York , 1992

[6] Hedrick, J. K. and Gopalswamy, S., “Nonlinear

Flight Control Design via Sliding Modes,” Journal

of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 13, No.

5 , 1990

[7] Thukral, A. and Innocenti, M., “A Sliding Mode

Missile Pitch Autopilot Synthesis for High Angle

of Attack Maneuvering,” IEEE Transaction on

Control Systems Technique, Vol. 6, No. 3, 1998

[8] Kim, S., Kim, Y., and Song, C., “A Robust

Adaptive Nonlinear Control Approach to Missile

Autopilot Design,” Control Engineering Practice,

Vol. 12, No. 2, 2004

[9] Farrell, J., Sharma, M., and Polycarpou, M.,

“Backstepping-Based Flight Control with Adaptive

Function Approximation,” Journal of Guidance,

Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2005

[10] Rysdyk, R. T., Calise, A. J., and Chen, R. T. N.,

“Nonlinear Adaptive Control of Tiltrotor Aircraft,”

AIAA/SAE World Aviation Congress 1997

Proceedings, Anaheim, CA, 1997

[11] Nakanishi, H. and Inoue, K., “Development of

Autonomous Flight Control Systems for

Unmanned Helicopter by Use of Neural

Networks,” Proceedings of the 2002 International

Joint Conference on Neural Networks, 2002

[12] Shin, D. H. and Kim, Y. D., “Reconfigurable Flight

Control System Design Using Adaptive Neural

Networks,” IEEE Transactions on Control Systems

Technology, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2004

[13] Ryu, H. and Min, B. M., “Automated Control Gain

Determination Using PSO/SQP Algorithm,” Korea

Institute of Military Science and Technology

Conference, Seoul, Korea, 2006

1633

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