Assessment of alternative manual control methods for small unmanned aerial vehicles

Jonathan Stevenson, Siu O'Young, Luc Rolland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper is a summary of experiments to assess alternative methods to control a small (<25 kg; under Transport Canada rules, small UAV are classified as under 25 kg; Transport Canada. 2014. TP15263 – Knowledge requirements for pilots of unmanned air vehicle systems (UAV) 25 kg or less, operating within visual line of sight. Transport Canada. August. Available from [accessed 17 August 2015]) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in manual mode. While it is true that the majority of a typical UAV mission will be in automatic mode (i.e., using an autopilot) this may not always be the case during takeoffs and landings, or if there is a failure of the autopilot. The concept of a manual control backup mode during all flight phases remains in proposed UAV regulations currently being defined in Canada and the US. The research summarized in this paper is an attempt to assess the accuracy of several manual control options for a small UAV. The paper includes both a theoretical discussion of the task of manually controlling a small UAV airframe and results from a series of field experiments investigating the use of first-person view techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-94
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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