Fast Real-Time MPC for Fighter Aircraft
Abstract: The main topic of this thesis is model predictive control (MPC) of an unstable fighter aircraft. When flying it is important to be able to reach, but not exceed the aircraft limitations and to consider the physical boundaries on the control signals. MPC is a method for controlling a system while considering constraints on states and control signals by formulating it as an optimization problem. The drawback with MPC is the computational time needed and because of that, it is primarily developed for systems with a slowly varying dynamics. Two different methods are chosen to speed up the process by making simplifications, approximations and exploiting the structure of the problem. The first method is an explicit method, performing most of the calculations offline. By solving the optimization problem for a number of data sets and thereafter training a neural network, it can be treated as a simpler function solved online. The second method is called fast MPC, in this case the entire optimization is done online. It uses Cholesky decomposition, backward-forward substitution and warm start to decrease the complexity and calculation time of the program. Both methods perform reference tracking by solving an underdetermined system by minimizing the weighted norm of the control signals. Integral control is also implemented by using a Kalman filter to observe constant disturbances. An implementation was made in MATLAB for a discrete time linear model and in ARES, a simulation tool used at Saab Aeronautics, with a more accurate nonlinear model. The result is a neural network function computed in tenth of a millisecond, a time independent of the size of the prediction horizon. The size of the fast MPC problem is however directly affected by the horizon and the computational time will never be as small, but it can be reduced to a couple of milliseconds at the cost of optimality.
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