Body-centric modelling, identification, and acceleration tracking control of a quadrotor UAV

Mohamad T. Alkowatly, Victor M. Becerra, William Holderbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the mathematical development of a body-centric nonlinear dynamic model of a quadrotor UAV that is suitable for the development of biologically inspired navigation strategies. Analytical approximations are used to find an initial guess of the parameters of the nonlinear model, then parameter estimation methods are used to refine the model parameters using the data obtained from onboard sensors during flight. Owing to the unstable nature of the quadrotor model, the identification process is performed with the system in closed-loop control of attitude angles. The obtained model parameters are validated using real unseen experimental data. Based on the identified model, a linear quadratic (LQ) optimal tracker is designed to stabilise the quadrotor and facilitate its translational control by tracking body accelerations. The LQ tracker is tested on an experimental quadrotor UAV and the obtained results are a further means to validate the quality of the estimated model. The unique formulation of the control problem in the body frame makes the controller better suited for bio-inspired navigation and guidance strategies than conventional attitude or position-based control systems that can be found in the existing literature.
Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalInternational Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2015


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