Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Collins, Robert James Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04242012-120253 Title Design of a Helicopter Slung Vehicle for Actuated Payload Placement Degree Master of Science Department Mechanical Engineering Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Kochersberger, Kevin Bruce Committee Chair Leonessa, Alexander Committee Member Williams, Christopher B. Committee Member Keywords
- Tethered Payload
- Slung Load
- Autonomous Systems
Date of Defense 2012-04-12 Availability unrestricted AbstractHelicopters have been used in applications where they need to carry a slung load for years. More recently, unmanned (UAV) helicopters are being used to deliver supplies to military units on the ground in theaters of war. This thesis presents a helicopter slung vehicle used to carry the payload and furthermore, provide a means of actuation for the payload. This provides more control authority to the system and may ultimately allow a helicopter to fly higher with a longer tether.
The vehicle designed in this thesis was designed for use with 100kg class helicopters, such as the Yamaha RMAX operated by the Virginia Tech Unmanned Systems Lab. Each system on the vehicle was custom designed – including the propulsion system, wall detection / localization system, and controller. Three shrouded propellers provided thruster actuation. A scanning laser range finder and inertial measurement unit (IMU) were used to provide localization. A first attempt at a linear full state feedback controller with a complementary filter was used to control the vehicle.
All of the systems were tested individually for functionality. The shrouded propellers met their design goals and were capable of producing .7lbf of thrust each. The wall detection system was able to detect walls and windows reliably and with repeatability. Results from the controller however were less than ideal, as it was only able to control yaw in an oscillatory motion, most likely due to model deficiencies. A reaction wheel was used to control yaw of the vehicle with more success.
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