Login(mail) :
Password :
Forgot your password?

Ground vehicles

Control has been a key technological enabler in the aerospace and automotive industries for decades. Despite its historical role, in recent years the complexity of flight control systems on board of modern aircrafts/satellites and of Electronic Control Units (up to 80) in modern cars has increased so dramatically that original equipment manufacturers urge now significant advances in control theories and tools, far beyond classical pure regulation. Modern control design problems involve in fact different and interacting layers of control, from regulatory loops to supervisory functions for the optimized management of a vehicle, up to the coordination of multiple vehicles. To contribute helping the European automotive and aerospace industries surviving the pressure of market competition (especially acute now because of the global economical crisis), and the steadily more stringent environmental regulations enforced by public authorities, HYCON2 envisions three directions of research for new control theories and tools.

Intra-vehicle networked control: networks in vehicles

First, new control designs embedding optimization procedures are needed to make ground vehicles cleaner (for instance by further reducing emissions through better control of exhaust gas composition), and safer (for instance for improved stability of vehicle dynamics). This includes: coordination of several ECUs networked on the Controller Area Network (CAN) in automobiles, for instance to optimally manage in real-time different power sources in hybrid electrical vehicles to reduce consumptions and emissions. This refers to networks system in vehicles.

Inter-vehicle networked control: networks of vehicles

Second, the host vehicle safety objectives are to be achieved by active control taking as input the near and possibly far traffic events by embedded or foresighted systems; mobility is to be increased through the construction of automated highways and the control of string of vehicles within these dedicated lanes. This refers to networks between vehicles.

Multi-vehicle networked control: vehicles in networks

Third, by developing new tools for coordinating the motion of entire collections of vehicles at the highest layer of control, including traffic flows (ground transportation) and air traffic management (air transportation). This refers to vehicles in networks.


Aerospace vehicles

Aerospace has always been a major control topic. There are many reasons for this close connection between control and aerial vehicles. They are fast dynamics’ systems that cannot be stabilized by empiric control strategies. They often present hard non-linearities or even hybrid behaviour and they usually are underactuated non-holonomic systems. Finally, they illustrate important issues of non-linear controllability and observability. Another important point concerning aerospace is that it is a broad field of applications from pilot assistance, mainly concerning stability issues, through decision and artificial intelligence in fully automated Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to optimization on air traffic control. Furthermore, aerial vehicles span a wide range of vehicles from micro-drones around 50 cm large to large aircrafts as 747 or A380. Aerial vehicles also include distinct airships as satellites launchers (rockets) to dirigible balloons. Some of the research topics are described in the following.
In respect to ground vehicles, air vehicles control will also present a three layer structure, but applied to a broader scope of systems: micro and mini UAVs, satellites and satellites' launchers, blimps, and air traffic management and optimization. The key points in these systems are:

Intra-vehicle networked control: networks in vehicles

A modern airplane presents more than 300 networked embedded micro-controllers. Furthermore, they are very sensitive with respect to external and internal variables like height, wind speed, weight and thrust. There is an important need of new control systems able to deal with so large number of components, and able to obtain the maximum real-time information from all sensors, possibly by means of observers.

Inter-vehicle networked control: networks of vehicles

The movements in 3 dimensions of aerial vehicles make them much more complex to control, and their possible interactions much larger. In fact, many aerial activities imply in the interaction of more than one system, like rocket launcher multi stages and possible multi satellites. In the same way, similar to the ground vehicle's tire-track interaction, an UAV flying indoors must interact with walls, floor and possible obstacles. This interaction may concern distance keeping as well as target tracking. Another considered topic concerns the control of swarm of air vehicles (possibly interacting with ground or water vehicles). The control of swarms is very important since air vehicles (including satellites) are often used in groups. They are commonly used as moving sensors like radars and telescopes, and controlling the position as well as the shape of the group tunes the resulting measurements.

Multi-vehicle networked control: vehicles in networks

Air traffic control and management has become a major concern. Air traffic control will probably still be human operated in the future by its so big importance and responsibility. Nevertheless, the continuous growth of traffic makes this human based control very difficult. It is important to provide human controllers with tools to model simulate and predict situations in order to allow better understanding and decisions. On the other hand, air traffic management may become more and more automatic. Every day there is a huge number of flights carrying cargo and passengers all around the world. These flights go through aerial hubs that concentrate and direct people and cargo from one initial place to their destinations. The so large number of simultaneous flights and possible path combinations from one initial point to its destination make this task very hard. The effect is heavy loaded airports that concentrate most of traffic, while other well fitted airports are under-operated. For this reason, air traffic management has become an important control field in order to optimize the amount of cargo and passengers, as well as to minimize the travel time.