Attitude modelling and real-time robust control of a 3-DoF quadcopter UAV test bench

S. M. Ahmad*, S. Fareed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work, a three degrees-of-freedom (3-DoF) static quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) test-rig of a pendulum-type configuration is custom-designed, developed, instrumented, and interfaced with a PC. The rig serves as a test bed to develop high-fidelity mathematical models as well as to investigate autopilot designs and real-time closed-loop controllers' performances. The Simulink Desktop Real-Time software is employed for the quadcopter's attitude signals acquisition and real-time implementation of closed-loop controllers on a target microcontroller hardware. The mathematical models for pitch, roll, and yaw axes are derived via the first principle and validated with the experimental linear system identification (SI) techniques. Subsequently, employing the multi-parameter root contour technique, the classical proportional integral derivative (PID) controllers are designed and implemented in real-time on the quadcopter UAV test rig. This served as a benchmark controller for comparing it with an integral-based linear quadratic regulator (LQR) controller. Further, to improve the transient response of the LQR controller, a novel robust integral-based LQR controller with a feedforward term (LQR-FF) is implemented, which shows much superior performance than the benchmark and basic LQR controller. This work thus will act as a precursor for a more complex 3-DoF autopilot design of an untethered quadcopter.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAeronautical Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Royal Aeronautical Society.


  • LQR-FF
  • mathematical modelling
  • quadcopter UAV
  • robust real-time control
  • system identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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