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Robotic airships have several beneficial properties such as low operation cost, low noise, and low speed flight capability. We present in this paper the design and verification of a feedback control algorithm for waypoint to waypoint navigation of an outdoor blimp. A rapidly exploring random tree (RRT) is used for the validation of the blimp system control law. We describe an implementation of an algorithm that systematically searches the set of all disturbances to validate viability of the control law in the presence of winds. Experimental results with a simulator show that the RRT method can be effective in verifying controller design under unpredictable but bounded disturbances.
Date of Conference: 27-31 Oct. 2003