Control strategies and novel techniques for autonomous rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicles: A review

Sherif I. Abdelmaksoud*, Musa Mailah, Ayman M. Abdallah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This paper presents a review of the various control strategies that have been conducted to address and resolve several challenges for a particular category of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the emphasis of which is on the rotorcraft or rotary-wing systems. Initially, a brief overview of the important relevant definitions, configurations, components, advantages/disadvantages, and applications of the UAVs is first introduced in general, encompassing a wide spectrum of the flying machines. Subsequently, the focus is more on the two most common and versatile rotorcraft UAVs, namely, the twin-rotor and quadrotor systems. Starting with a brief background on the dual-rotor helicopter and a quadcopter, the full detailed mathematical dynamic model of each system is derived based on the Eulerfilagrange and Newton-Euler methods, considering a number of assumptions and considerations. Then, a state-of-the-art review of the diverse control strategies for controlling the rotorcraft systems with conceivable solutions when the systems are subjected to the different impediments is demonstrated. To counter some of these limitations and adverse operating/loading conditions in the UAVs, several innovative control techniques are particularly highlighted, and their performance are duly analyzed, discussed, and compared. The applied control techniques are deemed to produce a useful contribution to their successful implementation in the wake of varied constraints and demanding environments that result in a degree of robustness and efficacy. Some of the off-the-shelf developments in the rotorcraft systems for research and commercial applications are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195142-195169
Number of pages28
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. All rights reserved.


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Chattering effect
  • Disturbance rejection
  • Hexacopter
  • Linear/non-linear controllers
  • Quadcopter
  • Robust/adaptive control
  • Rotary-wing system
  • Rotorcraft
  • Slung or swing load motion
  • Twin-rotor helicopter
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Control strategies and novel techniques for autonomous rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicles: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this