Development of a Relative Motion Facility for Simulations of Autonomous Air to Air Refuelling
du~Bois, J. L.
Thomas, Peter R.
Richardson, T. S.
The initial development and results of a comprehensive simulation and testing environment for autonomous air to air refuelling is presented. A thirteen degree of freedom relative motion facility has been installed at the University of Bristol to support the design, testing, and validation of measurement systems and autonomous control algorithms through hardware in the loop simulations. Initially this facility is used to simulate the `hook-up space' in air to air refuelling. A real-time platform handles the control of the manipulators in synchronisation with streamed data generated by simulated kinematics. An air-to-air refuelling simulation provides the kinematic data of a refuelling probe and drogue, with the feedback loop made by the provision of position measurements from proximity and vision-based sensors. The synthetic environment is real-time and consists of nonlinear models for the receiver and tanker, and accounts for the additional dynamics of the probe and drogue. Data packaging and delay compensation on the network between the real-time platform and the robot controller is addressed in this paper.