STEM Lessons for College Students

High Performance Adaptive Attitude Control of a Quadrotor

Flight test of a quaternion based attitude controller with adaptive augmentation.

The associated paper has been presented under the title
“High Performance Adaptive Attitude Control of a Quadrotor”
at the European Control Conference (ECC) 2019 in Naples, Italy.

Work done at the Control Methods and Robotics Lab at Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany by:

Dinu Mihailescu-Stoica
Raul Acuña
Jürgen Adamy


This paper introduces a quaternion based attitude controller, by augmenting a novel baseline controller with model reference adaptive control techniques (MRAC). In contrast to existing designs, the baseline controller makes use of the quaternion logarithm and the standard bi-invariant distance on SO(3). The adaptation restores the behavior of a time dependent reference model in case of model discrepancies. Moreover, we make use of the fact that the parameters, characterizing the gyroscopic coupling term of a rigid tumbling body, are naturally bounded to some predefined manifold and incorporate this information in our adaptive design. Altogether, the proposed design enables aggressive, high bandwidth acrobatic flight maneuvers over the whole attitude range without singularities, even in the presence of parametric uncertainties. Experimental results on our custom quadrotor platform validate the performance and robustness of the proposed attitude controller.

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