Design and control of quadrotors with application to autonomous flying

This thesis is about modelling, design and control of Miniature Flying Robots (MFR) with a focus on Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) systems and specifically, micro quadrotors. It introduces a mathematical model for simulation and control of such systems. It then describes a design methodology for a miniature rotorcraft. The methodology is subsequently applied to design an autonomous quadrotor named OS4. Based on the mathematical model, linear and nonlinear control techniques are used to design and simulate various controllers along this work. The dynamic model and the simulator evolved from a simple set of equations, valid only for hovering, to a complex mathematical model with more realistic aerodynamic coefficients and sensor and actuator models. Two platforms were developed during this thesis. The first one is a quadrotor-like test-bench with off-board data processing and power supply. It was used to safely and easily test control strategies. The second one, OS4, is a highly integrated quadrotor with on-board data processing and power supply. It has all the necessary sensors for autonomous operation. Five different controllers were developed. The first one, based on Lyapunov theory, was applied for attitude control. The second and the third controllers are based on PID and LQ techniques. These were compared for attitude control. The fourth and the fifth approaches use backstepping and sliding-mode concepts. They are applied to control attitude. Finally, backstepping is augmented with integral action and proposed as a single tool to design attitude, altitude and position controllers. This approach is validated through various flight experiments conducted on the OS4.

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