Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

, Volume 93, Issue 1–2, pp 163–177 | Cite as

Fault-Tolerant Containment Control of Multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Based on Distributed Sliding-Mode Observer

  • Ziquan Yu
  • Yaohong Qu
  • Youmin ZhangEmail author


This paper investigates the distributed fault-tolerant containment control (FTCC) of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (multi-UAVs) when a subset of multi-UAVs is encountered by actuator faults and input saturation. The topology involving multiple follower UAVs and leader UAVs is an undirected, fixed communication network and only a subset of follower UAVs has access to the leader UAVs. By the combination of graph theory and sliding-mode observer (SMO), the desired reference of each follower is first estimated in a distributed manner. Then, by utilizing the estimated knowledge, a set of distributed control laws is iteratively designed to steer follower UAVs into the convex hull spanned by the leader UAVs. In the distributed control scheme, disturbance observer (DO) technique is used to estimate unknown lumped uncertainty including external disturbances and actuator faults. An auxiliary dynamic system is constructed to compensate the input saturation. Moreover, to eliminate the “explosion of complexity” in traditional backstepping architecture, high-gain observer (HGO) technique is integrated into the backstepping architecture to estimate the virtual control signals and their first derivatives. Furthermore, by using graph theory and Lyapunov-based approach, it is shown that the distributed fault-tolerant containment controller can guarantee all follower UAVs to converge into the convex hull spanned by all leader UAVs. Finally, numerical simulations are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed distributed control scheme.


Distributed fault-tolerant containment control Distributed sliding-mode observer Disturbance observer High-gain observer Unmanned aerial vehicles Actuator fault Input saturation 


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This work was partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61473229 and 61573282) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to the Editor-in-Chief, the Guest Editors, and the anonymous reviewers whose insightful comments have helped to improve the quality of this paper considerably.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of AutomationNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace EngineeringConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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