This hardware-supplemented course covers the guidance, navigation- and control principles common to many small fixed-wing and multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Building on classical control systems and modeling theory, students will learn how to mathematically model UAV flight characteristics and sensors, develop and tune feedback control autopilot algorithms to enable stable flight control, and fuse sensor measurements using extended Kalman filter techniques to estimate the UAV position and orientation. Students will realize these concepts through both simulation and interaction with actual UAV hardware. Throughout the course, students will build a full 6-degree-of-freedom simulation of controlled UAV flight using MATLAB and Simulink. Furthermore, students will reinforce their UAV flight control knowledge by experimenting with tuning and flying actual open-source quadrotor UAVs.

Course prerequisites: 

Background in control systems (e.g., 525.409 Continuous Control Systems) and matrix theory along with a working knowledge of MATLAB. Experience using Simulink is desired. Existing familiarity with C programming language, electronics, and microcontrollers will be helpful but is not required.

Course instructor: 
Barton, DiGirolamo