Autopilot Control Laws Integration

The integration process, beyond software and hardware integration, intents to provide validated flight control laws and flying qualities inside flight envelope. Therefore, in ABIONICA, we have elaborated a fast-paced process that performs several recurrent tasks covering the different steps and assuring that the integrated UAS is compliant with the requirements in a very short time. Some of the major steps and activities included in our comprehensive process are the following:

1. UAV Modelling & Simulation

The aerodynamic, mass and powerplant models of the aircraft are developed to support control law design. These models could be linear or non-linear, and the accuracy level depends on the flight controls and model requirements.

2. UAV Model Validation

Through flight testing procedure the UAV model is identified and validated. Using proprietary Flight Test Instrumentation, flight test data is captured and post-processed to build the dataset used in model validation.

3. Aircraft Flight Control Laws design

Using as reference the UAV model, the flight control laws are designed according to system performance, controllability and stability requirements.

4. Flight Control System Integration, Verification and Validation

New implemented control laws are tested in simulation, later integrated in the target HW and finally in flight.

The benefits of this process in comparison with the widely extended gains tuning process are the following:

The customer has access to the UAV model and the aircraft flight control laws. Therefore, the manufacturer has full control over the UAS autopilot system and can replace it in future without having to perform the same integration process again.

Agile and incremental development approach. We have embraced Agile development processes that give use the capability to provide incremental functionalities to the UAV aircraft in a very flexible way and in accordance with our customer’s needs.

Removed all flight control integration risks. Performing live gain tuning is a high-risk process. Not just because the Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle may be damaged during flight tests, but from a project schedule and cost perspective the process is unpredictable, so beforehand it is impossible to assess how much or how long the process will take.

UAV Airworthiness Certification Standards process. Depending on requirements the process is aligned with ARP4754A and DO178C to accomplished with UAV Certification requirements. The designed flight control laws and the complementary datapack provides all the evidences required for UAS Certification.

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