Investigation and evaluation of control design requirements for future Personal Aerial Vehicles

Carlo A. Gerboni, Stefano Geluardi, Walter Fichter, Heinrich Bulthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study presented in this paper investigates bandwidth and disturbance rejection requirements for a new kind of vehicle, namely the Personal Aerial Vehicle (PAV). PAVs are here meant as augmented rotorcraft that can be safely flown by pilots after a training comparable in length to that necessary to learn how to drive a car. Therefore, the control augmentation system should ensure both stability and disturbance rejection properties while meeting handling qualities suitable for minimal-trained pilots. The investigation is conducted by designing a family of controllers to achieve different trade-offs between stability, handling qualities and robustness requirements. The goal is to evaluate which control design provides the best characteristics to help minimal-trained pilots when operating in turbulent conditions. The evaluation is conducted by means of a pilot in-the-loop experiment in the Max Planck Institute CyberMotion Simulator. The experiment is conducted with 21 participants with no prior flight experience divided into three groups. Each group has to perform the same control task maneuver but with a different augmented helicopter dynamics. The performance analysis is carried out by considering both objective metrics and subjective evaluations. Results show that the design with improved disturbance rejection properties helped the participants achieve better performance and workload levels in turbulent conditions. However, a relaxation of the stability margins is necessary to achieve these properties and must be taken into account for an actual implementation in a helicopter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1494
Number of pages12
JournalAnnual Forum Proceedings - AHS International
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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