Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Mario G Perhinschi


The Global Position System (GPS) is a critical element for the functionality of autonomous flying vehicles. The GPS operation at normal and abnormal conditions directly impacts the trajectory tracking performance of the autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) controllers. The effects of GPS parameter variation must be well understood and user-friendly computational tools must be developed to facilitate the design and evaluation of fault tolerant control laws.;This thesis presents the development of a simplified GPS error model in Matlab/Simulink and its use performing a sensitivity analysis of GPS parameters effect under system normal and abnormal operation on different UAV trajectory tracking controllers. The model statistically generates position and velocity errors, simulates the effect of GPS satellite configuration on the position and velocity measurement accuracy, and implements a set of failures to the GPS readings. The model and its graphical user interface was integrated within the WVU UAV simulation environment as a masked Simulink block. The effects on the controllers' trajectory tracking performance of the following GPS parameters were investigated within normal operation ranges and outside: time delay, update rate, error standard deviation, bias, and major position and velocity failures. Several sets of control laws with fixed and adaptive parameters and of different levels of complexity have been used in this investigation. A complex performance index formulated in terms of tracking errors and control activity was used for control laws performance evaluation. The composition of various metrics within the performance index was performed using fixed and variable weights depending on the local characteristics of the commanded trajectory.;This study has revealed that GPS error parameters have a significant impact on control laws performance. The proposed GPS model has proved to be a valuable, flexible tool for testing and evaluation of the fault tolerant capabilities of autonomous flight control laws.