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Design, Construction and Fly-By-Wireless Control of an Autonomous Quadrotor Helicopter

Camilo Ossa-Gomez

Miad Moarref b and Luis Rodrigues


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Concordia University, Montreal, QC, H3G 2Wl, Canada Emails:{c_ossa a.l1Ul\oar b. luisrod C}

Abstract- This paper describes the design, develop­
ment and analysis of an autonomous Quadrotor Un­ manned Aerial fly-by-wireless Vehicle (UAV ) that is controlled using technology. A communication protocol

between the UAV and a Ground Control Station (GCS) is established to continuously send information from the on-board sensors to the GCS. There, a controller computes the control signal in real-time and sends it back to the UAV to act upon the actuators . An Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and a sonar are used to determine the attitude angles and the height of the


UAV, respectively. A state-feedback controller is designed network, a Lyapunov-Krasovskii functional is used to by pole placement . Considering the delays of the wireless

determine if the stability of the system is affected by

the delay. Some results are presented from initial flight experiments in which attitude angles and altitude are stabilized.


Fig. 1.

Wireless control scheme.

The main goal of this research project is to present an application of fly-by-wireless technology to unmanned aerial vehicle control. Both topics have been active research fields over the last years. Ay-by-wireless driven mainly by the aerospace industry, is a technology trend aiming to improve the efficiency and reliability of aircrafts while reducing operational costs from main­ tenance by decreasing the amount and complexity of its wiring [I]. The second topic, UAVs and specially quadrotors, has been actively driven by its potential 978-1-4577-0972-2/11/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE

applications such as inspection, surveillance and map­ ping, amongst many others. Additional to the obvious advantage of using UAV s in missions where hazardous conditions for human pilots are involved, a quadrotor offers some advantages over fixed-wing aircrafts such as the ability of Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) and hovering. One of the main challenges of quadrotors comes from the fact that they are inherently unstable and have a relatively fast dynamic behavior, requiring a fast sampling rate to maintain the system's stability. The wireless protocol must be able to provide a transfer rate fast enough that will not add significant delays that could negatively affect the performance of the UAV. We model the quadrotor as a sampled-data linear sys­ tem, in which the plant is in feedback with a discrete­ time controller. Considering the discrete-time controller as a continuous-time controller with time varying delay, [2] provides a set of linear matrix inequalities that guar­ antee asymptotic stability of a sampled-data piecewise affine system to the origin. We modify the results of that work for the case of linear systems to determine if the delay added by the wireless communication affects the system's stability. This article presents in Section II the most relevant considerations taken into account during the design and construction of the quadrotor. In Section III, the system modelling and the design of a con­ troller are presented. Later, in Section IV, a Lyapunov­ Krasovskii based theorem is used to determine if the delay added by the wireless communication affects the system's stability. The Fly-By-Wireless implementation details are discussed in Section V and the experimental results are presented in Section VI. II. Q UADROTOR DESIGN, SENSORS AND ACT UATORS The quadrotor used for the purpose of the research presented in this article was designed and constructed

while 2 and 4 rotate counter-clockwise. we can define the following control inputs to the speed command for each motor mi as follows: { ml = Ul . A new test bed was built to recreate the conditions of flight. The key characteristic of both materials is a high stress resistance to weight ratio. For each controller. With the data acquired from the above mentioned experiment. Assuming that the motors are producing a similar throttle and the overall thrust is close to the weight of the quadrotor. and 'IjJ (yaw) as the rotation around z. the first is an engineering thermoplastic with additional advantages such a good machinability. Denoting Ji as the moment of inertia about the Qi axis. III. The two latter characteristics are key in the development of a vehicle that is going to be used in several different kinds of tests that might involve the need of adding and subtracting significant hardware parts such as sensors and on-board processing units. Propellers I and 3 rotate clockwise. an extra effort was made to add certain features such as a high modularity and flexibility. a simple model to describe its dynamics is: By solving the differential equation. Note that only four linearly independent control commands can be given. roll.U4 (1) Fig. If the damping is neglected. an approach to System Identification based on the time response is used.U3 . Figure 2 shows a render made in the Computer Aided Design (CAD) software package used in the design of the vehicle. Besides the main obvious design requirements such as the weightlthrottle ratio and stiffness. They will be discussed in subsection III-B. U2.U4 Ul + U2 + U4 Ul + U3 . () (pitch) as the rotation around y. and therefore it is an underactuated system. Four E­ flite 370 motors with 10 x 4. Two main materials were used: Polyoxymethylene by its the authors. For this paper. the time response is found to be: Qi(t) = -' U' 2 2Ji (2) W hich is a second order polynomial function.U2 + U4 m2 m3 m4 = = = Ul . They are controlled by changing the thrust produced by each of its pro­ pellers and using the counter-rotative torque produced where Ul. among others. The test bed has an adjustable pivot that allows the pivoting axis to pass through the center of mass. and the time response data was acquired. 2. (POM) and a general purpose aluminum alloy: 6063.7 propellers and E-flite IO-Amp Pro Brushless Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) were used. Several methods have been proposed to obtain a model for the quadrotor dynamics. The convention is that ¢ (roll) is defined as the rotation around the x axis. respectively. such as System Identification in [3]. A Microstrain 3DM-GX I Inertial Measurement Unit (lMU) is used to measure the at­ titude angles and a Maxbotics LV-MaxSonar EZ4 is used to determine the altitude. the system behaves as a rigid body rotating freely around its center of mass with a torque applied by the motors. pitch and yaw contollers. based on the assumption that a hovering quadrotor rotates around its center of mass. U3 and U4 are the outputs of the altitude. Comparing (2) with the . and the second material is a non-ferrous metal widely used in aerospace applications. Modelling Quadrotor helicopters have six degrees of freedom with respect to an inertial reference frame: they can move along the three directional coordinate axis and rotate with respect to each of them. Render from the CAD model of the quadrotor. a curve fitting procedure is used to determine the coefficient of the second order term in a function of the 2 form f(t) = a2t + alt + ao. MODELLING AND CONTROL DESIGN A. geometrical and physical calculations in [4] or CAD models to estimate the inertias. and noting that the 2 initial conditions do not affect the coefficient of t . Figure 2 illustrates a quadrotor's motion and the forces acting upon it. a step input was given to the system.

Theorem 1: Consider the closed-loop sampled-data linear system defined in (3) and (5) with sampling intervals smaller than T.In. .5806 and 1jJz 39.] + [!I:J [A BK].[!I:J NT . are two consecutive We denote the time elapsed since the last sampling instant by and the longest interval between two consecutive sam­ pling times by T.In. K = Kx(t).03 o o o 0 -0. -In. R. 0 0 0 A= 0 0 0 X = 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 where tn and tn+ l n sampling times. K \II + T(Ml M2) [\II + T(M2 + M3) TNT + < 0 TN . [0 iJ 7/J 7/J if> ¢( T = sUp(tn+l . and u E lRn" is the control input For this system. Ml [ �� ] K T [In.e. the following matrix was found using Ackerman's formula: •.tn). Writing the model in its state space representation: = = = IV. and provides a set of linear matrix inequalities which guarantee that the sampled-data linear system asymp­ totically converges to the origin.:J [In.N [In.obtained polynomial.2157. and matrix N with appropriate dimensions. ] . Control design Consider the linear system in (3) and let a linear controller be defined by u(t) n Using a pole-placement procedure where E lR "x to achieve a desired time response with no overshoot and a settling time of Is.TR ] (8) < 0 (9) (4) where n 0 K= [-0. A E lRn xn. and X. nEN (7) 0 0 0 0 1 j Jx 0 0 0 0 B= 0 l/Jy 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 j Jz We denote the m x m identity matrix by Im.5806.] . E N.03 o 0 = [K��T] [p 0] + [�] [A BK] . i. .1 o -0. The next theorem follows from the results of [2].1 -0.[!. we find approximations for the inverse of the moments of inertia as: 1/Jx 322. WIRELESS NETW ORKED CONTROL Consider a system in the form of (3) and a linear controller in the form of (4). . the control input can be rewritten as ±(t) where • = Ax(t) + Bu(t). \II X = X X . • (3) B E x E lRn denotes the state vector. l/Jy 322. and Xtn ' = x(tn). lRnxx n". Assumption 1: The measurements for computing the control input are taken in a sample-and-hold fashion. The system is asymptotically stable to the origin if there exist symmetric positive definite matrices P. satisfying B. Therefore.

R. the problem of finding the longest interval between two consecutive sampling times that preserves asymptotic stability is formulated as Problem 1: maximize subject to T O NT + N KT BT proof of thiS theorem = [� J [A [ ] T R 0]' [0 BK . Tmax is found to be 154ms. MA. VII. University of Kan sas. Therefore. San Diego CA. Lund University. Sweden. Controllers. Siegwart. the [3] S. R > 0. BouabdaIlah. L. Jaber. Proceedings of the 2007 IEEElRSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.M2 M3 = The can be found in [2]. Modelling. Yel verton. [5] S. According to [5]. USA. low power consumption. low weight.t 43. Salah and A. A wireless control network was estabilished and tested to ensure the longest sampling time is within the theoretical bound that preserves stability. each one of them holding a simul­ taneous two-way communication-one using a XBee Pro pair to gather data from the IMU in polled mode and the other one using a pair of regular XBee modules to read the altitude from the sonar sensor and send the control input to each of the four motors. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We would like to thank A. . Development and Flight Testing of a Wireless Avioncs Network Based on the IEEE 802. FL. long distance range. CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK We designed. Using the system's characteristics. X> 0. Wireless Avionics. It can be seen from the plots that the altitude tracks the desired trajectory while the attitude angles are stabilized. MSc 1besis. having the lowest power consumption. 1995. [2] M. Rodrigues. Our next step is to implement a position feedback system to control motion in the horizontal plane and make the quadrotor completely autonomous. K. N. REFERENCES [1] 1. USA.0217. 2008. Identification and Control of a Quadrotor Helicopter. 1995. Alhalabi. Two wireless networks were implemented. (8) - (9). A state feedback controller was designed assuming no delays in the communication and the maximum allowable delay to maintain stability was estimated. USA. Department of Automatic Control. we find the average delay between data updates as . We denote the solution of Problem 1 by Tmw<.t5.35ms. 2011. FLY-BY-WIRELESS I MPLEMENTATION Fig.99ms. with a standard devia­ tion of SN 0.11 Protocols. 14th DASC. The maximum D.t found was 58. Finally. Some of the main specifications and requirements for choosing an appropriate standard to implement the wireless network of this particular project are the need of a fast sampling rate. Attitude angles and altitude are plotted versus time. Analizing the data aquired during the conducted ex­ periments. Asymptotic Stability of Piecewise Affine Systems with Sampled-data Piecewise Linear P> 0. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS Figure 3 shows some experimental results obtained. built and modelled a quadrotor. VIII. MSc Thesis. Full Control of a Quadrotor. VI. Comparing these experiental sampling times to the value found using the theorem. Experimental results Submitted to the 50th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control. Moanef. Bresciani. and one of the longest distance ranges. no interference with other wireless networks in range and compatibility with both the simple on-board processing unit and the GCS. an experiment was conducted with satisfactory results. ] ZigBee standard was chosen. Bichouti for their hard work and help during their Capstone Project on the quadrotor. Digital Avionics Systems Conference. Based on Theorem 1. A. it is possible to conclude that the system can be stabilized using the networked control system. R. the ZigBee standard meets the requirements. 3. = = V. 2008. Chilakala. 2007 [4] T.