Desktop Real-Time Flight Simulator for Control Design
Vijeesh T, CSIR-NAL
Flight simulation is a valuable aid in any aircraft developmental program. Specifically, when designing and validating control laws and autopilot systems, engineers can benefit from real-time pilot- and engineer-in-the-loop simulation. Rapid prototyping techniques allow the implementation and validation of real-time flight simulation and flight control strategies during the development process. Users can work within the same environment from requirements analysis to flight simulation, and they can design controllers and perform verification and validation in the implementation phase. A low-cost visualisation platform for pilot visual cues and pilot inputs can enhance rapid prototyping flight simulation systems in a cost-effective manner. This session presents the development of a real-time flight simulator for control design. The approach uses standard x86-based computing platforms working on the Windows® operating system together with MATLAB® and Simulink®.
With Real-Time Windows Target™, users can run Simulink and Stateflow® models in real time on desktop or laptop PCs for rapid prototyping and hardware-in-the-loop simulation. This approach enables efficient design, development, and validation of control and signal processing algorithms. A real-time executable can be realised entirely through Simulink models. Simulink Coder™ generates C code from Simulink models. The generated code runs as a real-time application on a standard personal computer. This code can be compiled and executed in real time on a Windows-based PC by interfacing to real hardware using PC I/O boards. Real-Time Windows Target includes I/O device drivers to support an extensive selection of I/O boards and also UDP socket interfaces. This support enables designers to interface sensors, actuators, and other hardware required for flight simulation.
For the present work, standard USB joysticks are used as pilot control. The visualisation platform is developed using OpenSceneGraph and Delta3D. Real-Time Windows Target drivers are used to acquire the control inputs. The output from the plant model drives visualisation software, through the Real-Time Windows Target packet output driver. A GUI is developed using MSVC MFC that will interact with a MATLAB session using the MATLAB engine API. The primary flight display is developed and interfaced to the Simulink model. A real-time plotting application is also developed using QT for analysis.
Recorded: 8 Aug 2012
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