This paper addresses the problem of controlling a rotary wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) tracking a target moving on ground. The target tracking problem by UAVs has received much attention recently and several techniques have been developed in literature most of which have been applied to fixed wing aircrafts. The use of quadrotor UAVs, the subject of this paper, for target tracking presents several challenges especially for highly maneuvering targets since the development of time-optimal controller (required if target is maneuvering fast) for quadrotor UAVs is extremely difficult due to highly non-linear dynamics. The primary contribution of this paper is the development of a proportional navigation (PN) based method and its implementation on quad-rotor UAVs to track moving ground target. The PN techniques are known to be time-optimal in nature and have been used in literature for developing guidance systems for missiles. There are several types of guidance laws that come within the broad umbrella of the PN method. The paper compares the performance of these guidance laws for their application on quadrotors and chooses the one that performs the best. Furthermore, to apply this method for target tracking instead of the traditional objective of target interception, a switching strategy has also been designed. The method has been compared with respect to the commonly used Proportional Derivative (PD) method for target tracking. The experiments and numerical simulations performed using maneuvering targets show that the proposed tracking method not only carries out effective tracking but also results into smaller oscillations and errors when compared to the widely used PD tracking method.

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