A recent breakthrough in precise aircraft control with implications for both manned and unmanned flight is highlighted in a brief video which can be viewed below. The full paper describing this Apprenticeship Learning control method and its integration into a comprehensive design and analysis suite is available here.
Abstract of Paper:
“Comprehensive Nonlinear Simulation with Robust Autonomous Control”
A mostly free, open source software tool suite for comprehensive analysis of a complex system’s physical behaviour is presented. This sophisticated tool suite, which captures the system-wide effects of multi-body dynamics, visco-elastic materials, and unsteady aerodynamics, is comprised of mostly industrial quality software and was developed specifically to advance the understanding of the Mono Tiltrotor (MTR) design.
Virtually any rotorcraft design can be modelled and piloted in this computer simulation environment, and the piloted trajectories are then learned for autonomous control. The controller can robustly reproduce the learned trajectory for variants of the base model to include additional elements for a higher fidelity simulation and changed elements for trade studies. The model can be validated by applying the controller to a physical test aircraft and comparing its real flight dynamic behaviour with the simulation predictions.