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Title: Transition optimization for a VTOL tail-sitter UAV
Authors: Li, B 
Sun, J
Zhou, W 
Wen, C 
Low, K
Chen, C
Issue Date: 2020
Source: IEEE/ASME transactions on mechatronics, 2020, p. 1-11 (Early Access)
Abstract: This paper focuses on the transition process optimization for a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tail-sitter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). For VTOL UAVs that can fly with either hover or cruise mode, transition refers to the intermediate phases between these two modes. This work develops a transition strategy with the trajectory optimization method. The strategy is a reference maneuver enabling the vehicle to perform transition efficiently by minimizing the cost of energy and maintaining a small change of altitude. The simplified 3-degree-of-freedom (3-DOF) longitudinal aerodynamic model is used as a dynamic constraint. The transition optimization problem is then modeled by nonlinear programming (NLP) and solved by the collocation method to obtain the reference trajectory of the pitch angle and throttle offline. Simulations with the Gazebo simulator and outdoor flight experiments are carried out with the optimized forward (hover-cruise) and backward (cruise-hover) transition solutions. The simulation and experimental results show that the optimized transition strategy enables the vehicle to finish transition with less time and change of altitude compared with that by using traditional linear transition methods.
Keywords: Tail-sitter
Flight Experiments
Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Journal: IEEE/ASME transactions on mechatronics 
ISSN: 1083-4435
DOI: 10.1109/TMECH.2020.2983255
Rights: © 2020 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
The following publication B. Li, J. Sun, W. Zhou, C. Wen, K. H. Low and C. Chen, "Transition Optimization for a VTOL Tail-sitter UAV," in IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics is available at
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