Research Papers

Global Positioning System Denied Navigation of Autonomous Parafoil Systems Using Beacon Measurements From a Single Location

[+] Author and Article Information
Martin R. Cacan

Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering,
Center for Advanced Machine Mobility,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30322
e-mail: martincacan@gatech.edu

Mark Costello

David S. Lewis Professor of Autonomy,
Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering,
Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering,
Center for Advanced Machine Mobility,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30322

Edward Scheuermann

Earthly Dynamics Corporation,
Atlanta, GA 30309

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Dynamic Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS, MEASUREMENT, AND CONTROL. Manuscript received November 10, 2016; final manuscript received August 10, 2017; published online November 10, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Ming Xin.

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 140(4), 041004 (Nov 10, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: DS-16-1547; doi: 10.1115/1.4037654 History: Received November 10, 2016; Revised August 10, 2017

Precision-guided airdrop systems have shown considerable accuracy improvements over more widely used unguided systems through high-quality position, velocity, and time feedback provided by global positioning system (GPS). These systems, like many autonomous vehicles, have become solely dependent on GPS to conduct mission operations. This necessity makes airdrop systems susceptible to GPS blackout in mountainous or urban terrain due to multipathing issues or from signal jamming in active military zones. This work overcomes loss of GPS through an analysis of guidance, navigation and control (GNC) capabilities using a single radio frequency (RF) beacon located at the target. Such a device can be deployed at the target by ground crew on site to retrieve package delivery. Two novel GNC algorithms are presented, which use either range from or direction to a RF beacon. Simulation and experimental flight testing results indicated that beacon-based methods can achieve similar results as GPS-based methods. This technology provides a simple and elegant solution to GPS blackout with best method studied showing only a 21% decrease in landing accuracy in comparison to GPS-based methods.

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Fig. 1

Add canopy from airdrop overview figure. Try and add heading, course, velocity, beacon heading.

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Fig. 2

Parafoil and payload schematic

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Fig. 3

(a) Horizontal wind shear model to capture large-scale spatial variations in the air mass and (b) simulated wind field, which combines base model (dashed line) with high frequency turbulence to generate total full atmospheric data (solid line)

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Fig. 4

Small-scale parafoil and payload system used for experimental flight testing

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Fig. 5

Landing dispersion of GPS-based feedback algorithm in (a) simulation and (b) experimental flight testing

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Fig. 6

Example simulated trajectory of the {ψB, z} feedback algorithm

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Fig. 7

Percent of landings aligned with the wind as a function of low altitude wind speeds

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Fig. 8

Landing dispersion of the {ψB, z} feedback algorithm based on (a) simulation results and (b) experimental flight testing

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Fig. 9

Simulated trajectory of an autonomous airdrop system employing {R, z} feedback in a windy environment

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Fig. 10

Results of the {R, z} beacon feedback method tested in (a) simulation and (b) experimental flight testing



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