Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

, Volume 70, Issue 1–4, pp 385–399 | Cite as

Experimental Validation of a Helicopter Autopilot Design using Model-Based PID Control

  • Bryan Godbolt
  • Nikolaos I. VitzilaiosEmail author
  • Alan F. Lynch


Autonomous helicopter flight provides a challenging control problem. In order to evaluate control designs, an experimental platform must be developed in order to conduct flight tests. However, the literature describing existing platforms focuses on the hardware details, while little information is given regarding software design and control algorithm implementation. This paper presents the design, implementation, and validation of an experimental helicopter platform with a primary focus on a software framework optimized for controller development. In order to validate the operation of this platform and provide a basis for comparison with more sophisticated nonlinear designs, a PID controller with feedforward gravity compensation is derived using the generally accepted small helicopter model and tested experimentally.


Helicopter UAV autopilot Experimental helicopter platform Model-based control Helicopter modeling and control 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan Godbolt
    • 1
  • Nikolaos I. Vitzilaios
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alan F. Lynch
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Nonlinear Controls Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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