Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 187–207 | Cite as

Performance Comparison of Controllers with Fault-Dependent Control Allocation for UAVs

  • Mikkel Eske Nørgaard Sørensen
  • Søren Hansen
  • Morten Breivik
  • Mogens Blanke


This paper combines fault-dependent control allocation with three different control schemes to obtain fault tolerance in the longitudinal control of unmanned aerial vehicles. The paper shows that fault-dependent control allocation is able to accommodate actuator faults that would otherwise be critical and it makes a performance assessment for the different control algorithms: an \(\mathcal {L}_{1}\) adaptive backstepping controller; a robust sliding mode controller; and a standard PID controller. The actuator faults considered are the partial to total loss of the elevator, which is a critical component for the safe operation of unmanned aerial vehicles. During nominal operation, only the main actuator, namely the elevator, is active for pitch control. In the event of a partial or total loss of the elevator, fault-dependent control allocation is used to redistribute control to available healthy actuators. Using simulations of a Cessna 182 aircraft model, controller performance and robustness are evaluated by metrics that assess control accuracy and energy use. System uncertainties are investigated over an envelope of pertinent variation, showing that sliding mode and \(\mathcal {L}_{1}\) adaptive backstepping provide robustness, where PID control falls short. Additionally, a key finding is that the fault-dependent control allocation is instrumental when handling actuator faults.


Nonlinear longitudinal motion control Fault-tolerant UAV control \(\mathcal {L}_{1}\) adaptive backstepping control Sliding mode control Fault-dependent control allocation Performance metrics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikkel Eske Nørgaard Sørensen
    • 1
  • Søren Hansen
    • 2
  • Morten Breivik
    • 1
  • Mogens Blanke
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems, Department of Engineering CyberneticsNorwegian University of Science and Technology - NTNUTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Automation and Control Group, Department of Electrical EngineeringTechnical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark

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