Unified incremental nonlinear controller for the transition control of a hybrid dual-axis tilting rotor quad-plane

Overactuated Tilt Rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are renowned for exceptional wind resistance and a broad operational range, which poses complex control challenges due to non-affine dynamics. Traditional solutions employ multi-state switched logic controllers for transitions. Our study introduces a novel unified incremental nonlinear controller for overactuated dual-axis tilting rotor quad-planes, seamlessly managing pitch, roll, and physical actuator commands. The control allocation problem is addressed using a SQP iterative optimization algorithm, well-suited for nonlinear actuator effectiveness in thrust vectoring vehicles. The controller design integrates desired roll and pitch angle inputs. These desired attitude angles are autonomously managed by the controller and then conveyed to the vehicle during slow airspeed phases, when the vehicle maintains its 6 DOF. We incorporate an AoA protection logic to prevent wing stall and a yaw rate reference model for coordinated turns. Flight tests confirm the controller's effectiveness in transitioning from hovering to forward flight, achieving desired vertical and lateral accelerations, and reverting to hovering.

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