Quadcopter Modelling and Simulation: A Case Study for Encouraging Deeper Learning Engagements

This presentation demonstrates how engineering and science students can use the MATLAB technical computing environment to develop a deeper understanding of complex multi domain applications. A quadcopter UAV example is used as a case study to connect the fundamental mathematical concepts introduced in the earlier years of a science/engineering degree, to the numerical methods and control design concepts taught in the later years.

Using the quadcopter case study, we’ll demonstrate how the following deeper learning attributes are encouraged:

How complex problems can be broken down into a series of smaller problems.
How these smaller problems can then be “glued” together to form a holistic view of the original problem.
How curiosity is fostered by providing students with choices on how to solve a problem (eg: apps, code, block diagrams) ? choices that encourage “creating” and “doing”
How independent exploration of concepts is encouraged via access to numerical computing libraries.
How positive emotions to learning are fostered by a HELP/DOC system that acts as an ever present companion during the learning and discovery process.
Some of the learning tasks considered in this presentation include:

How the new MATLAB® Live Editor can demystify rotation matrix sequences and enliven the teaching of concepts associated with moments of inertia
How Simulink® can model and solve the 6-DOF equations of motion of a rigid body (building, solving, implementing equations, and incorporating the rotation matrix concepts along the way)
How to linearize a 6-DOF model and design controllers for altitude and attitude control

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