Jaw-Kuen Shiau This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Wei-Sheng Hung1 and Cheng-Min Chang1

1Department of Aerospace Engineering, Tamkang University, Tamsui, Taiwan 251, R.O.C.


Received: March 20, 2015
Accepted: July 6, 2015
Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.6180/jase.2015.18.3.05  


 This paper presents the design of a distributed multi-microcontroller based computing framework for UAV application. A DSPIC microcontroller (MCU) based system architecture is established first. The system contains three major parts, namely, sensing and attitude determination section, control section, and ground section. The sensing and attitude determination section consists of four circuit boards (master control board, slave control board, sensor board, and power supply board) of identical size (5 cm x 5 cm). The sensor board contains three axes inertial measurement unit, electronic compass unit, and a GPS receiver. The sensors and the DSPIC MCUs are connected via an I2C (inter-integrated circuit) data bus with the DSPIC of the master control board acting as the master MCU. Modular design was used to combine the master and slave control boards to form the system’s control section and to facilitate system expansion for accommodating additional avionics functions. UART interface was used for inter-section communication. Results of the design and simulation of a model-based flight control system with time delay were also included to demonstrate the success of the design of the distributed multi-MCU based flight control system.

Keywords: Distributed Control System, State Feedback, Delay Compensation, UAV


  1. [1] Hespanha, J. P., Naghshtabrizi, P. and Xu, Y., “A Survey of Recent Results in Networked Control Systems,” Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 95, No. 1, pp. 138172 (2007). doi: 10.1109/JPROC.2006.887288
  2. [2] Zhang, W., Branicky, M. S. and Phillips, S. M., “Stability of Networked Control Systems,” IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Vol. 21, pp. 8499 (2001). doi: 10. 1109/37.898794
  3. [3] Sipahi, R., Niculescu, S., Abdallah, C. T., Michiels, W. and Gu, K., “Stability and Stabilization of Systems with Time Delay. Limitations and Opportunities,” IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Vol. 31, Issue 1 (2011). doi: 10.1109/MCS.2010.939135
  4. [4] Peng, C., Tian, Y. C. and Tade, M. O., “State Feedback Controller Design of Networked Control Systems with Interval Time-varying Delay and Nonlinearity,” International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control, Vol. 18, No. 12, pp. 12851301 (2008). doi: 10.1002/ rnc.1278
  5. [5] Montestruque, L. A. and Antsaklis, P., “Stability of Model-based Networked Control Systems with Timevarying Transmission Times,” IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol. 49, pp. 15621572 (2004). doi: 10.1109/TAC.2004.834107
  6. [6] Montestruque, L. A. and Antsaklis, P., “On the ModelBased Networked Control Systems,” Automatica, Vol. 39, pp. 18371843 (2003). doi: 10.1016/S0005-1098 (03)00186-9
  7. [7] Chen, P.-C., The Study, Design and Realization of the Portable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Master Thesis, Tamkang University, June (2009).
  8. [8] Liao, S.-H., Multi-chip Flight Computer of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Master Thesis, Tamkang University, June (2010).
  9. [9] Chang, C.-M., Analysis and Design of a Model-Based Flight Control System with Time-Delay, Master Thesis, Tamkang University, June (2012).
  10. [10] Norris, R. B., A Distributed Flight Control System Architecture for Small UAVs, Master Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA (1998).
  11. [11] Palmintier, B., Twiggs, R. and Kitts, C., “Distributed Computing on Emerald: A modular approach for Robust Distributed Space Systems,” 2000 IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings, Vol. 7, pp. 211222 (2000). Bigsky, MT USA. doi: 10.1109/AERO.2000.879289
  12. [12] Kitts, C. and Swartwout, M., “Autonomous Operations Experiments for the Distributed Emerald Nanosatellite Mission,” Proceedings of the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Advanced Operations Concepts, SSC-00-IX-5 (2000). http://digitalcommons.usu. edu/smallsat/2000/All2000/.
  13. [13] Palmintier, B., Kitts, C., Stang, P. and Swartwout, M., “A Distributed Computing Architecture for Small Satellite and Multi-Spacecraft Missions,” Proceedings of the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, Innovative Mission Operation Concepts, SSC-02-IV-6 (2002). http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/smallsat/2002/all2002/.
  14. [14] Shiau, J.-K. and Hung, W.-S., “Development of a Distributed Multi-MCU Based Flight Control System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,” AASRC Conference, Tainan, Nov. 15, 2114, Taiwan (2014).
  15. [15] Shiau, J.-K. and Wang, I-C.,“Unscented Kalman Filtering for Attitude Determination Using MEMS Sensors”, Journal of Applied Science and Engineering, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 165176 (2013). doi: 10.6180/jase. 2013.16.2.08