Major Updates to the UAVDynamics Library

Following the release of the UAVDynamics library there have been many updates and improvements over the last 2 years. Following a very successful Innovate UK – Future Flight project, the library has been significantly changed to accommodate the extra capabilities.

Key New Features

  • Fixed wing vehicles
  • Tilt rotor/wing vehicles
  • Failure modes
  • External controller interface
  • Lift surface array propeller models

New Look

While incorporating a lot from the previous iteration of the library, the new release has totally restructured the vehicle model templates. This includes adding sub-systems and making the look of the models more akin to road vehicle templates you’d find in the VeSyMA library.

Figure 1: Example of an Octocopter model

Figure 1: Example of an Octocopter model

Now each sub system has its own interface and connections, with the ability to switch between fidelities easily. Each model is compatible with many other vehicle models.

New Vehicles

New capabilities added to the library include lift surfaces, defined by arrays of aerofoil models. These surfaces can be used both in a conventional, low attack angle, application or in high attack angle situations. This allows both conventional fixed wing and tilt wing or rotor vehicles to use the same models.

Figure 2: Example application of a Sky Taxi

Figure 2: Example application of a Sky Taxi

With the new vehicle types comes new components required to create them. Systems such as wheel based landing gear, winch payload attachment, ruddervators, tilting motor mounts and variable pitch propellers have been added, including test cases for them.

Octocopter winching down to pick up heavier payload

Failure Modes

Now included in the primary systems are failure modes that can be activated according to a top level control block. This allows users to call many types of failure with any type of activation. Included are modes effecting motor, propeller, mass and lift surface in varying types of failure.

Video: Octocopter experiencing propeller lift failure

Examples include a motor seizing, propellers loosing blade in both lift and mass, lift surfaces loosing lift and/or gaining drag and total loss of components in force effect and mass.


As described in the Ardupilot blog post, in addition to the native example controllers within the library, a direct interface to Ardupilot has been added. This allows users control rotorcraft from ardupilot which can be used to create and follow missions in a HiL application.

Written by: David Briant – Senior Project Engineer

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