Velocity-sensorless proportional–derivative trajectory tracking control with active damping for quadcopters

Seok Kyoon Kim, Choon Ki Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The proposed observer-based control mechanism solves the trajectory tracking problem in the presence of external disturbances with the reduction in sensor numbers. This systematically considers the quadcopter nonlinear dynamics and parameter and load variations by adopting the standard controller design approach based on a disturbance observer (DOB). The first feature is designing first-order observers for estimating the velocity and angular velocity error, with their parameter independence obtained from the DOB design technique. As the second feature, the resultant velocity observer-based control action including active damping and DOBs secures first-order tracking behavior for the position and attitude (angle) loops through pole zero cancellation, thereby forming a proportional–derivative control structure. Closed-loop analysis results reveal the performance recovery and steady-state error removal properties in the absence of tracking error integrators. The numerical verification confirms the effectiveness of the proposed mechanism using MATLAB/Simulink.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-1692
Number of pages12
JournalNonlinear Dynamics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2018R1A6A1A03026005) and was supported in part by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (Ministry of Science and ICT) (No. NRF-2020R1A2C1005449).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. part of Springer Nature.


  • Active damping
  • PD control
  • Quadcopters
  • Trajectory tracking
  • Velocity observer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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