Retrofit fault-tolerant tracking control design of an unmanned quadrotor helicopter considering actuator dynamics

Research paper by Zhixiang Liu, Chi Yuan, Xiang Yu, Youmin Zhang

Indexed on: 01 Nov '17Published on: 24 Aug '17Published in: International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control


This paper presents a retrofit fault-tolerant tracking control (FTTC) design method with application to an unmanned quadrotor helicopter (UQH). The proposed retrofit fault-tolerant tracking controller is developed to accommodate loss-of-effectiveness faults in the actuators of UQH. First, a state feedback tracking controller acting as the normal controller is designed to guarantee the stability and satisfactory performance of UQH in the absence of actuator faults, while actuator dynamics of UQH are also considered in the controller design. Then, a retrofit control mechanism with integration of an adaptive fault estimator and an adaptive fault compensator is devised against the adverse effects of actuator faults. Next, the proposed retrofit FTTC strategy, which is synthesized by the normal controller and an additional reconfigurable fault compensating mechanism, takes over the control of the faulty UQH to asymptotically stabilize the closed-loop system with an acceptable performance degradation in the presence of actuator faults. Finally, both numerical simulations and practical experiments are conducted in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed FTTC methodology on the asymptotic convergence of tracking error for several combinations of loss-of-effectiveness faults in actuators.