Scenario 3: Landing of a fixed-wing UAV on UGV

This scenario is devoted to the development of safe and reliable landing technologies for very light long endurance platforms (e.g. ELHASPA solar aircraft). The inherent lightweight design of these platforms is driven to a maximum, making further structural optimization virtually impossible. The elimination of the landing gear represents a promising option for further weight reduction and would allow for a significant increase of the available payload capacity, range, endurance and/or performance of the aircraft. Without the conventional landing gear, a ground based landing system becomes necessary. Such “ground based landing gear” would also allow for landing in adverse wind conditions, where stronger side winds or wind gusts are present and thereby increase the operational availability of the system.

In this scenario the aircraft and the ground vehicle with the top-mounted landing platform, are supposed to move along the runway in a coordinated and cooperative manner, while the aircraft performs its final approach manoeuvre just before touchdown. Then, the rendezvous operation between two vehicles is produced.

The main stakeholders of this scenario are the DLR, providing system and mission expertise for HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) aerial platforms including state estimation and control systems, Airbus Defence and Space providing the local positioning sensor (RBS) and USE providing the trajectory planning.

Key technological challenges are:

  • Sensor data fusion (GPS, IMU, Vision, RBS).
  • Precise and reliable state estimation (coordinates and velocities) for UAV and ground vehicle.
  • Coordination of the cooperative motion and optimization of trajectories for UAV & ground vehicle.
  • Precise and reliable control during close landing approach and touchdown phase.
Scenario 3: Landing of a fixed-wing UAV on UGV