Autonomous Autorotation of an RC Helicopter

  • Pieter Abbeel
  • Adam Coates
  • Timothy Hunter
  • Andrew Y. Ng
Part of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics book series (STAR, volume 54)


In case of engine failure, skilled pilots can save a helicopter from crashing by executing an emergency procedure known as autorotation. In autorotation, rather than relying on the engine to drive the main rotor, the pilot has to control the helicopter such that potential energy from altitude is transferred to rotor speed. In fact, maintaining a sufficiently high rotor speed is critical to retain sufficient control of the helicopter to land safely. In this paper, we present the first autonomous controller to successfully pilot a remotely controlled (RC) helicopter during an autorotation descent and landing.


Rotor Speed Rotor Blade Angular Rate Main Rotor Tail Rotor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pieter Abbeel
    • 1
  • Adam Coates
    • 1
  • Timothy Hunter
    • 2
  • Andrew Y. Ng
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentStanford UniversityStanford 
  2. 2.Electrical Engineering DepartmentStanford UniversityStanford 

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