Aerial Recovery Concept Demo (Gauss's Principle)

version (34.7 KB) by Liang Sun
Demonstrate the concept of aerial recovery of miniature aerial vehicles using a towed-cable system.


Updated 5 Oct 2015

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The towing vehicle (mothership) is commanded to follow a circular orbit that results a circular orbit of the towed body (drogue) with smaller radius and lower velocity relative to the mothership. The miniature aerial vehicle (MAV), which is to be retrieved, is regulated to follow the drogue orbit and to approach the drogue with a relatively low airspeed. After the MAV dock on the drogue, the towed cable and bodies (both drogue and MAV) are reeled into the mothership to complete the aerial recovery.
In this demo, Gauss’s Principle is used to derive the dynamic model of the cable-drogue system. The MAV uses missile guidance strategies to intercept the drogue.
For more information see:

Sun, L., Beard, R. W., and Colton, M. B., McLain, T. W., “Dynamics and Control of Cable-drogue System in Aerial Recovery of Micro Air Vehicles Based on Gauss’s Principle.” St. Louis, MO, USA: American Control Conference, June 2009, pp. 4729–4734.

Colton, M. B., Sun, L., Carlson, D. C., and Beard, R. W., "Multi-vehicle Dynamics and Control for Aerial Recovery of Micro Air Vehicles", Int. J. Vehicle Autonomous Systems, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 78-107.

Cite As

Liang Sun (2022). Aerial Recovery Concept Demo (Gauss's Principle) (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
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