Incremental Nonlinear Fault-Tolerant Control of a Quadrotor With Complete Loss of Two Opposing Rotors

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In order to further expand the flight envelope of quadrotors under actuator failures, we design a nonlinear sensor-based fault-tolerant controller to stabilize a quadrotor with failure of two opposing rotors in the high-speed flight condition (>8 m/s). The incremental nonlinear dynamic inversion approach which excels in handling model uncertainties is adopted to compensate for the significant unknown aerodynamic effects. The internal dynamics of such an underactuated system have been analyzed, and subsequently stabilized by redefining the control output. The proposed method can be generalized to control a quadrotor under single-rotor-failure and nominal conditions. For validation, flight tests have been carried out in a large-scale open jet wind tunnel. The position of a damaged quadrotor can be controlled in the presence of significant wind disturbances. A linear quadratic regulator approach from the literature has been compared to demonstrate the advantages of the proposed nonlinear method in the windy and high-speed flight condition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9160894
Pages (from-to)116-130
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Air safety
  • fault tolerant control
  • nonlinear control systems
  • unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Uncertainty
  • Attitude control
  • Atmospheric modeling
  • Rotors
  • Aerodynamics
  • Robustness
  • Nonlinear dynamical systems


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