SCIENCE CHINA Information Sciences, Volume 59, Issue 11: 112209(2016) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-015-0153-2

Second-order sliding mode attitude controller design of a small-scale helicopter

More info
  • ReceivedDec 7, 2015
  • AcceptedJan 15, 2016
  • PublishedOct 14, 2016


In this paper, the attitude control of a small-scale helicopter is investigated. The main rotor flapping dynamics is explicitly explored to improve the control performance. A two-layer control architecture is adopted: the inner loop controller is designed combining second-order sliding mode control with extended state observer to control the angular rates and yield good robustness properties with respect to model uncertainties; the outer loop controller is used to control the attitude. Experimental results show that the proposed controller yields excellent performance and robustness.

Funded by

Basic and Advanced Research Project of Chongqing(cstc2016jcyjA0563)



This work was supported by Basic and Advanced Research Project of Chongqing (Grant No. cstc2016jcyjA0563).


[1] Sanada Y, Torii T. Aerial radiation monitoring around the fukushima dai-ichi nuclear power plant using an unmanned helicopter. J Environ Radioact, 2014, 139: 294-299 Google Scholar

[2] Siebert S, Teizer J. Mobile 3D mapping for surveying earthwork projects using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system. Autom Constr, 2014, 41: 1-14 CrossRef Google Scholar

[3] Maza I, Kondak K, Bernard M, et al. Multi-UAV cooperation and control for load transportation and deployment. J Intell Robot Syst, 2010, 57: 417-449 CrossRef Google Scholar

[4] Maza I, Caballero F, Capitán J, et al. Experimental results in multi-UAV coordination for disaster management and civil security applications. Int J Syst Sci, 2011, 61: 563-585 Google Scholar

[5] Casbeer D W, Kingston D B, Beard A W, et al. Cooperative forest fire surveillance using a team of small unmanned air vehicles. Int J Syst Sci, 2006, 37: 351-360 CrossRef Google Scholar

[6] Bernard M, Kondak K, Hommel G, et al. Attitude control optimization for a small-scale unmanned helicopter. In: Proceedings of {AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit}, Denver, 2000. AIAA-2000-4059. Google Scholar

[7] Brown A, Garcia R. Concepts and validation of a small-scale rotorcraft proportional integral derivative (PID) controller in a unique simulation environment. Int J Syst Sci, 2009, 54: 511-532 Google Scholar

[8] Gavrilets V. {Autonomous aerobatic maneuvering of miniature helicopters}. Dissertation for Doctoral Degree. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003. Google Scholar

[9] Gavrilets V, Mettler B, Feron E. Human-inspired control logic for automated maneuvering of miniature helicopter. J Guid Control Dyn, 2004, 27: 752-759 CrossRef Google Scholar

[10] Cai G W, Chen B M, Dong X X, et al. Design and implementation of a robust and nonlinear flight control system for an unmanned helicopter. Mechatronics, 2011, 21: 803-820 CrossRef Google Scholar

[11] La Civita M. {Integrated modeling and robust control for full-envelope flight of robotic helicopter}. Dissertation for Doctoral Degree. Carnegie Mellon University, 2002. Google Scholar

[12] Pota H R, Ahmed B, Garratt M. Velocity control of a UAV using backstepping control. In: {Proceedings of the 45th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control}, San Diego, 2006. 5894--5899. Google Scholar

[13] Ahmed B, Pota H R, Garratt M. Rotary wing UAV position control using backstepping. In: {Proceedings of the 46th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control}, New Orleans, 2007. 1957--1962. Google Scholar

[14] Ahmed B, Pota H R. Flight control of a rotary wing UAV using adaptive backstepping. In: {Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Control and Automation}, Christchurch, 2009. 1780--1785. Google Scholar

[15] Lee C-T, Tsai C-C. Improvement in trajectory tracking control of a small scale helicopter via backstepping. In: {Proceedings of International Conference on Mechatronics}, Kumamoto, 2007. 1--6. Google Scholar

[16] Lee C-T, Tsai C-C. Nonlinear adaptive aggressive control using recurrent neural networks for a small scale helicopter. Mechatronics, 2010, 20: 474-484 CrossRef Google Scholar

[17] Li P, Zheng Z-Q. Robust adaptive second-order sliding-mode control with fast transient performance. IET Control Theory A, 2012, 6: 305-312 CrossRef Google Scholar

[18] Li P. {Research and application of traditional and higher-order sliding mode control} (in Chinese). Dissertation for Doctoral Degree. National University of Defense Technology, 2011. Google Scholar

[19] Xia Y Q, Zhu Z, Fu M Y, et al. Attitude tracking of rigid spacecraft with bounded disturbances. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2011, 58: 647-659 CrossRef Google Scholar

[20] Xu Y J. Multi-timescale nonlinear robust control for a miniature helicopter. IEEE Trans Aerosp Electron Syst, 2010, 46: 656-671 CrossRef Google Scholar

[21] Lei X S, Sam Ge S Z, Fang J C. Adaptive neural network control of small unmanned aerial rotorcraft. Int J Syst Sci, 2014, 75: 331-341 Google Scholar

[22] Song B Q, Liu Y H, Fan C Z. Feedback linearization of the nonlinear model of a small-scale helicopter. J Control Theory Appl, 2010, 8: 301-308 CrossRef Google Scholar

[23] Cai G W, Chen B M, Peng K M, et al. Modeling and control of the yaw channel of a UAV helicopter. IEEE Trans Ind Electron, 2008, 55: 3426-3434 CrossRef Google Scholar

[24] Liu C J, Chen W H, Andrews J. Tracking control of small-scale helicopters using explicit nonlinear MPC augmented with disturbance observers. Control Eng Pract, 2012, 20: 258-268 CrossRef Google Scholar

[25] Liu C J, Chen W H, Andrews J. Piecewise constant model predictive control for autonomous helicopters. Robot Auton Syst, 2011, 59: 571-579 CrossRef Google Scholar

[26] Mettler B. {Identification Modeling and Characteristics of Miniature Rotorcraft}. New York: Springer US, 2003. Google Scholar

[27] Zhou H B. {Small-scale unmanned helicopter modeling and controller design} (in Chinese). Dissertation for Doctoral Degree. South China University of Technology, 2011. Google Scholar

[28] Tang S, Zheng Z Q, Qian S K, et al. Nonlinear system identification of a small-scale unmanned helicopter. Control Eng Pract, 2014, 25: 1-15 CrossRef Google Scholar

[29] Cai G W, Chen B M, Lee T H, et al. Comprehensive nonlinear modeling of an unmanned-aerial-vehicle helicopter. In: Proceedings of {AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference and Exhibit}, Honolulu, 2008. AIAA-2008-7414. Google Scholar

[30] Han J Q. {Active Disturbance Rejection Control Technique---The Technique for Estimating and Compensating the Uncertainties} (in Chinese). Beijing: National Defense Industry Press, 2008. Google Scholar

[31] Chen Z Q, Sun M W, Yang R G. Research on the stability of linear active disturbance rejection control (in Chinese). Acta Automat Sin, 2013, 39: 574-580 Google Scholar

[32] Khalil H K. {Nonlinear System}. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall Inc., 1996. Google Scholar

[33] Vitzilaios N I, Tsourveloudis N C. An experimental test bed for small unmanned helicopters. J Intell Robot Syst, 2009, 54: 769-794 CrossRef Google Scholar

Copyright 2020 Science China Press Co., Ltd. 《中国科学》杂志社有限责任公司 版权所有

京ICP备18024590号-1       京公网安备11010102003388号