Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to build nonlinear model of a small rotorcraft‐based unmanned aerial vehicles (RUAV), using nonlinear system identification method to estimate the parameters of the model. The nonlinear model will be used in robust control system design and aerodynamic analysis. Design/methodology/approach – The nonlinear model is built based on mechanism theory, aerodynamics and mechanics, which can reflect most dynamics in large flight envelop. Genetic algorithm (GA) and time domain flight data is adopted to estimate unknown parameters of the model. The flight data were collected from a series of fight tests. The identification results were also analyzed and validated. Findings – The nonlinear model of RUAV has better accuracy, the parameters are physical quantities, and having distinctly recognizable values. The GA is suitable for nonlinear system identification. And the results proved the identified model can reflect the dynamic characteristics in extensive area of flight envelop. Research limitations/implications – The GA requires much more computing power, to identify 12 unknown parameters with 30 iterations, will takes more than 18 hours of a four cores desktop computer. Because of this is an off‐line identification process, and has more accuracy, extra time is acceptable. Originality/value – GA method has significantly increased the accuracy of the model. The previous work of system identification used a ten states linear model, and using PEM identified 23 coefficients. By carefully building the nonlinear model, it has only 21 unknown parameters, but if the model is linearized, it will get a linear model more than 35 states, which shows nonlinear model contain more dynamics than linear model.
International Journal of Intelligent Computing and Cybernetics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 22, 2013
Keywords: Rotorcraft‐based unmanned aerial vehicle; Nonlinear system identification; Genetic algorithms; Aerodynamics