Experimental Robotics

Volume 54 of the series Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics pp 385-394

Autonomous Autorotation of an RC Helicopter

  • Pieter AbbeelAffiliated withComputer Science Department, Stanford University
  • , Adam CoatesAffiliated withComputer Science Department, Stanford University
  • , Timothy HunterAffiliated withElectrical Engineering Department, Stanford University
  • , Andrew Y. NgAffiliated withComputer Science Department, Stanford University

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In case of engine failure, skilled pilots can save a helicopter from crashing by executing an emergency procedure known as autorotation. In autorotation, rather than relying on the engine to drive the main rotor, the pilot has to control the helicopter such that potential energy from altitude is transferred to rotor speed. In fact, maintaining a sufficiently high rotor speed is critical to retain sufficient control of the helicopter to land safely. In this paper, we present the first autonomous controller to successfully pilot a remotely controlled (RC) helicopter during an autorotation descent and landing.