This PhD thesis presents the results, achieved at the Aerospace Engineering Department\ud Laboratories of the University of Bologna, concerning the development of a small scale\ud Rotary wing UAVs (RUAVs).\ud In the first part of the work, a mission simulation environment for rotary wing UAVs was\ud developed, as main outcome of the University of Bologna partnership in the CAPECON\ud program (an EU funded research program aimed at studying the UAVs civil applications and\ud economic effectiveness of the potential configuration solutions). The results achieved in\ud cooperation with DLR (German Aerospace Centre) and with an helicopter industrial partners\ud will be described.\ud In the second part of the work, the set-up of a real small scale rotary wing platform was\ud performed. The work was carried out following a series of subsequent logical steps from\ud hardware selection and set-up to final autonomous flight tests.\ud This thesis will focus mainly on the RUAV avionics package set-up, on the onboard\ud software development and final experimental tests.\ud The setup of the electronic package allowed recording of helicopter responses to pilot\ud commands and provided deep insight into the small scale rotorcraft dynamics, facilitating the\ud development of helicopter models and control systems in a Hardware In the Loop (HIL)\ud simulator. A neested PI velocity controller1 was implemented on the onboard computer and\ud autonomous flight tests were performed. Comparison between HIL simulation and experimental results showed good agreement
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