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Backstepping Approach for Controlling a Quadrotor Using Lagrange Form Dynamics


The dynamics of a quadrotor are a simplified form of helicopter dynamics that exhibit the same basic problems of underactuation, strong coupling, multi-input/multi-output design, and unknown nonlinearities. Control design for the quadrotor is more tractable yet reveals corresponding approaches for helicopter and UAV control design. In this paper, a backstepping approach is used for quadrotor controller design. In contrast to most other approaches, we apply backstepping on the Lagrangian form of the dynamics, not the state space form. This is complicated by the fact that the Lagrangian form for the position dynamics is bilinear in the controls. We confront this problem by using an inverse kinematics solution akin to that used in robotics. In addition, two neural nets are introduced to estimate the aerodynamic components, one for aerodynamic forces and one for aerodynamic moments. The result is a controller of intuitively appealing structure having an outer kinematics loop for position control and an inner dynamics loop for attitude control. The control approach described in this paper is robust since it explicitly deals with unmodeled state-dependent disturbances and forces without needing any prior knowledge of the same. A simulation study validates the results obtained in the paper.

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Correspondence to Abhijit Das.

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Das, A., Lewis, F. & Subbarao, K. Backstepping Approach for Controlling a Quadrotor Using Lagrange Form Dynamics. J Intell Robot Syst 56, 127–151 (2009).

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  • Back stepping
  • Quadrotor
  • Neural network
  • Adaptive control
  • Kinematic inversion
  • Lyapunov candidate