Receding Horizon Control of a Vectored Thrust Flight Experiment

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Mark B. Milam, Ryan Franz, John E. Hauser, Richard M. Murray
IEE Proceedings on Control Theory and Applications, 152(3):340-348

This paper details the application of a constrained receding horizon control techniques to stabilize an indoor vectored-thrust flight experiment, known as the Caltech Ducted Fan, subjected to step commands. The result of the experiment sheds light on the theoretical stability of the receding horizon control strategy as well as validates some efficient computation techniques for solving nonlinear optimal control problems with constraints. The receding horizon control problem is formulated as a constrained optimal control problem, which was solved with an e±cient computational method developed and implemented by Milam et al., that combines nonlinear control theory, B-spline basis functions, and nonlinear programming. Characteristic issues including non-zero computational times, convergence property, choice of horizon length and terminal cost are discussed. The study confirms the applicability of real-time receding horizon control for constrained systems with fast dynamics.