For an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), its navigation in terrains can be quite challenging. To reach the destination within the required time, the maneuver of the quadrotor must behave aggressively. During this aggressive maneuvering, the quadrotor can experience singularities in the yaw-direction rotation. Thus, it is essentially important to develop a mathematical model and control method that can avoid singularities while enabling such an aggressive maneuver. In our previous effort, we demonstrated a vertical loop aggressive maneuver performed by a quadrotor UAV, which utilizes the controlled loop path following (CLPF) method. As found in this work, conventional modeling and tracking control method may not be good enough if specific requirements, such as fast coasting speed and sharp turns, are imposed. The numerical simulation by singularity-free modeling and the CLPF method enables a quadrotor to be operated in aggressive maneuverability with features like automatic flipping and precise trajectory following. The current research extends the maneuverability of a quadrotor by using a different and more capable control approach. More complex trajectories are used to test this new control method.

In this paper, a quadrotor is used to demonstrate the capability of the proposed control method in delivering an aggressive and singularity-free maneuver. A quaternion-based mathematical model of the quadrotor is derived to avoid the singularities of rotation during the aggressive maneuvers. At the same time, a new control method, namely the full quaternion differential flatness (FQDF) method, is developed for quadrotors to combat the requirement of a fast maneuver in three-dimensional space. The FQDF method, which makes use of full quaternion modeling and differential flatness, enables the quadrotor to react to the reference trajectory timely and to exhibit aggressive rotation without any singularity. Also, the singularities resulting from the heading direction can be resolved by a new algorithm. The FQDF method is compared with the reference literature’s methods and is tested in different trajectories from the ones in the previous studies. The numerical simulation demonstrates the aggressive maneuverability and computational efficiency of the proposed control method.

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