In this paper, a novel active disturbance compensating tracking control method is presented with applications to an unmanned quadrotor helicopter. First, a normal state feedback tracking controller is optimized to guarantee stable operation in a calm environment and then, a retrofit control mechanism including a disturbance estimator and an adaptive compensator are developed that asymptotically stabilize the closed-loop system in the presence of constant external force disturbances. To evaluate the presented scheme, numerical simulations based on a nonlinear quadrotor helicopter model are conducted by comparing the performance of a normal control method and the proposed control approach.

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