Fractional order controller for pitch loop control of a VTOL UAV

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

2013 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS)


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


Atlanta, GA

Publication Date



As the fundamental tuning step for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), pitch loop control has significant impact on the flight. In this paper, an auto-regressive with exogenous input (ARX) model is acquired and converted to a first-order plus time delay (FOPTD) model for the pitch loop of a VTOL UAV. Based on the FOPTD model, a fractional order [proportional integral] (FO[PI]) controller is designed. An integer order PI controller based on the modified Ziegler-Nichols (MZNs) tuning rule and a general integer order proportional integral derivative (PID) controller are also designed for comparison following three design specifications. Simulation results have shown that the proposed fractional order controller outperforms both the MZNs PI controller and the integer order PID controller in terms of robustness and disturbance rejection.

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