Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Computer Engineering

Major Professor

Kimon Valavanis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Miguel Labrador, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Wilfrido Moreno, Ph.D.


Unmanned systems, SIMULINK, Microcontroller, Autopilot, Automation


Unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles, or UAVs and UGVs respectively, currently perform a large variety of missions usually centered around reconnaissance. Because the platforms may vary for a particular type of mission--everything from small unmanned airplanes and remote control vehicles to large vehicles such as the Yamaha R-MAX helicopter and Hummer--flight and navigation controllers must be changed to allow proper control of the selected platform. Currently, controllers are designed and tested in MATLAB/SIMULINK, but then rewritten in C or Assembly for a specific target platform. When designing controllers in a programming language, changes are often tedious, so producing a working controller takes considerable time.

MATLAB/SIMULINK provides a GUI interface and SIMULINK provides excellent testing capabilities, so changes may be quick and easy. However, no automated method for converting a simple controller, such as a PID for example, from MATLAB to implementation on a microcontroller has been presented in literature.

To implement current in-house controllers designed in MATLAB/SIMULINK, a system consisting of Real-Time Workshop and a C compiler has been used to produce assembly code for a target microcontroller. To aid in verification of the controllers and C code produced by Real-Time Workshop targeted toward aerial platforms, an interface for the controllers in SIMULINK and a flight simulator (X-Plane) has been created. Thus the overall system allows for rapid changes and implementation on a variety of platforms as well as plug-in/plug-out capabilities in the field for diverse missions. Functionality and diversity of the system is demonstrated through testing of PID VTOL controllers in SIMULINK with X-Plane as well as implementation of UGV controllers onboard a small radio controlled truck.