In “UAV autopilot controllers test platform using Matlab/Simulink and X-Plane,” Lucio R. Ribeiro and Neusa Maria F. Oliveira of the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica, describe a test platform they built.
It makes use of Matlab/Simulink to run the autopilot controller under test, the flight simulator X-Plane with the aircraft to be commanded, a microcontroller to command model aircraft flight control surfaces and a servo to drive these control surfaces.
These resources are interconnected through data communication buses, so that the Matlab/Simulink designed autopilot controller designed on Matlab/Simulink is tested by controlling an aircraft on X-Plane. The inputs given to the aircraft flight control surfaces in the X-Plane are simultaneously sent to the microcontroller which translates these commands into effective servo movement control.
Through this platform, designed autopilot systems can be applied into models similar to real aircraft minimizing risks and increasing flexibility for design changes.