Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Position tracking and attitude control for quadrotors via active disturbance rejection control method


In this paper, a trigonometric-saturation-function-based position controller is designed for the quadrotor system with internal and external disturbances. Furthermore, in the attitude control problem, a dual closed-loop structure is put forward. Specifically, a nonlinear extended-state-observer (ESO) is employed to provide an estimate for the so-called total disturbance. Then, based on the estimate provided by the ESO, a nonlinear composite control strategy is designed for the purpose of angular tracking. Some sufficient conditions are established to guarantee that the position and attitude subsystems are stable. The contributions are mainly as follows. (1) A trigonometric-saturation-function is used in the position control which could guarantee that the studied system is fully-actuated. (2) The nonlinear ESO is implemented in the attitude control-loop which could enhance the anti-disturbance property. Finally, some numerical simulations and practical experiments are provided to verify the applicability of the proposed methodology.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1

    Tousi M M, Khorasani K. Optimal hybrid fault recovery in a team of unmanned aerial vehicles. Automatica, 2012, 48: 410–418

  2. 2

    Gandolfo D C, Salinas L R, Brandao A, et al. Stable path-following control for a quadrotor helicopter considering energy consumption. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol, 2017, 25: 1423–1430

  3. 3

    Cabecinhas D, Naldi R, Silvestre C, et al. Robust landing and sliding maneuver hybrid controller for a quadrotor vehicle. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol, 2016, 24: 400–412

  4. 4

    Loianno G, Brunner C, McGrath G, et al. Estimation, control, and planning for aggressive flight with a small quadrotor with a single camera and IMU. IEEE Robot Autom Lett, 2017, 2: 404–411

  5. 5

    Dong X W. Formation and Containment Control for High-Order Linear Swarm Systems. Berlin: Springer, 2015

  6. 6

    Liang X, Fang Y C, Sun N, et al. Nonlinear hierarchical control for unmanned quadrotor transportation systems. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2018, 65: 3395–3405

  7. 7

    Aguiar A P, Hespanha J P. Trajectory-tracking and path-following of underactuated autonomous vehicles with parametric modeling uncertainty. IEEE Trans Autom Control, 2007, 52: 1362–1379

  8. 8

    Cao N, Lynch A F. Inner-outer loop control for quadrotor UAVs with input and state constraints. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol, 2016, 24: 1797–1804

  9. 9

    Wang X H, Shirinzadeh B, Ang M H. Nonlinear double-integral observer and application to quadrotor aircraft. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2015, 62: 1189–1200

  10. 10

    Yuan Y, Yuan H H, Wang Z D, et al. Optimal control for networked control systems with disturbances: a delta operator approach. LET Control Theory Appl, 2017, 11: 1325–1332

  11. 11

    Yuan Y, Wang Z D, Guo L. Event-triggered strategy design for discrete-time nonlinear quadratic games with disturbance compensations: the noncooperative case. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern Syst, 2018, 48: 1885–1896

  12. 12

    Leena N, Saju K K. Modelling and trajectory tracking of wheeled mobile robots. Procedia Tech, 2016, 24: 538–545

  13. 13

    Sun W C, Tang S Y, Gao H J, et al. Two time-scale tracking control of nonholonomic wheeled mobile robots. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol, 2016, 24: 2059–2069

  14. 14

    Xu B. Disturbance observer-based dynamic surface control of transport aircraft with continuous heavy cargo airdrop. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern Syst, 2017, 47: 161–170

  15. 15

    Kim W, Shin D, Won D, et al. Disturbance-observer-based position tracking controller in the presence of biased sinusoidal disturbance for electrohydraulic actuators. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol, 2013, 21: 2290–2298

  16. 16

    Pereira P O, Cunha R, Cabecinhas D, et al. Leader following trajectory planning: a trailer-like approach. Automatica, 2017, 75: 77–87

  17. 17

    Tayebi A, McGilvray S. Attitude stabilization of a VTOL quadrotor aircraft. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol, 2006, 14: 562–571

  18. 18

    Meng Z Y, Ren W, You Z. Distributed finite-time attitude containment control for multiple rigid bodies. Automatica, 2010, 46: 2092–2099

  19. 19

    Tian B L, Liu L H, Lu H C, et al. Multivariable finite time attitude control for quadrotor UAV: theory and experimentation. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2018, 65: 2567–2577

  20. 20

    Shi X N, Zhang Y A, Zhou D. A geometric approach for quadrotor trajectory tracking control. Int J Control, 2015, 88: 2217–2227

  21. 21

    Liu H, Xi J X, Zhong Y S. Robust attitude stabilization for nonlinear quadrotor systems with uncertainties and delays. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2017, 64: 5585–5594

  22. 22

    Xia Y Q, Liu B, Fu M Y. Active disturbance rejection control for power plant with a single loop. Asian J Control, 2012, 14: 239–250

  23. 23

    Han J Q. From PID to active disturbance rejection control. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2009, 56: 900–906

  24. 24

    Wu D, Chen K. Frequency-domain analysis of nonlinear active disturbance rejection control via the describing function method. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2013, 60: 3906–3914

  25. 25

    Guo B Z, Zhao Z L. On convergence of the nonlinear active disturbance rejection control for MIMO systems. SIAM J Control Optim, 2013, 51: 1727–1757

  26. 26

    Chen S, Xue W, Zhong S, et al. On comparison of modified ADRCs for nonlinear uncertain systems with time delay. Sci China Inf Sci, 2018, 61: 070223

  27. 27

    Bai W Y, Xue W C, Huang Y, et al. On extended state based Kalman filter design for a class of nonlinear time-varying uncertain systems. Sci China Inf Sci, 2018, 61: 042201

  28. 28

    Liu G P, Shi P, Han J, et al. Active disturbance rejection control for uncertain multivariable systems with time-delay. IET Control Theory Appl, 2007, 1: 75–81

  29. 29

    Cabecinhas D, Cunha R, Silvestre C. Experimental validation of a globally stabilizing feedback controller for a quadrotor aircraft with wind disturbance rejection. In: Proceedings of American Control Conference, Washington, 2013. 1024–1029

  30. 30

    Yang H J, Cheng L, Xia Y Q, et al. Active disturbance rejection attitude control for a dual closed-loop quadrotor under gust wind. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol, 2018, 26: 1400–1405

  31. 31

    Yuan Y, Wang Z D, Zhang P, et al. Nonfragile near-optimal control of stochastic time-varying multiagent systems with control-and state-dependent noises. IEEE Trans Cybern, 2018. doi: 10.1109/TCYB.2018.2829713

  32. 32

    Yuan Y, Wang Z D, Zhang P, et al. Near-optimal resilient control strategy design for state-saturated networked systems under stochastic communication protocol. IEEE Trans Cybern, 2018. doi: 10.1109/TCYB.2018.2840430

  33. 33

    Liu J L, Liu Q H, Cao J, et al. Adaptive event-triggered H filtering for T-S fuzzy system with time delay. Neurocomputing, 2016, 189: 86–94

  34. 34

    Liu J L, Cao J, Wu Z A, et al. State estimation for complex systems with randomly occurring nonlinearities and randomly missing measurements. Int J Syst Sci, 2014, 45: 1364–1374

Download references


This work was supported in part by Royal Society of the U.K., in part by Research Fund for the Taishan Scholar Project of Shandong Province of China, in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61503001), and in part by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany.

Author information

Correspondence to Yuan Yuan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yuan, Y., Cheng, L., Wang, Z. et al. Position tracking and attitude control for quadrotors via active disturbance rejection control method. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 62, 10201 (2019).

Download citation


  • position control
  • quadrotor system
  • extended-state-observer
  • attitude control