On the actuator dynamics of dynamic control allocation for a small fixed-wing UAV with direct lift control

A novel dynamic control allocation method is proposed for a small fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), whose flaps can be actuated as fast as other control surfaces, offering an extra way of changing the lift directly. The actuator dynamics of this kind of UAVs, which may be sluggish comparing to the UAV dynamics, should also be considered in the control design. To this end, a hierarchical control allocation architecture is developed. A disturbance observer based high-level tracking controller is first designed to accommodate the lagging effect of
the actuators and to compensate the adverse effect of external disturbances. Then, a dynamic control allocator based on a receding-horizon performance index is developed, which forces the actuator state in the low-level to follow the optimised reference. Compared to the conventional control allocation method that assumes ideal actuators with infinite bandwidths, higher tracking accuracy of the UAV and better energy efficiency can be achieved by the proposed method. Stability analysis and high fidelity simulations both demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method, which can be deployed on different fixed-wing UAVs with flaps to achieve better performance.