Date of Award

Spring 2019

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

May-Win Thein

Second Advisor

Barry Fussell

Third Advisor

Se Young Yoon


Over the last decade, autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have seen increased usage in industrial, defense, research, and academic applications. Specific attention is given to multirotor platforms due to their high maneuverability, utility, and accessibility. As such, multirotors are often utilized in a variety of operating conditions such as populated areas, hazardous environments, inclement weather, etc. In this study, the effectiveness of multirotor platforms, specifically quadrotors, to behave as Earth-based satellite test platforms is discussed. Additionally, due to concerns over system operations under such circumstances, it becomes critical that multirotors are capable of operation despite experiencing undesired conditions and collisions which make the platform susceptible to on-board hardware faults. Without countermeasures to account for such faults, specifically actuator faults, a multirotors will experience catastrophic failure.

In this thesis, a control strategy for a quadrotor under nominal and fault conditions is proposed. The process of defining the quadrotor dynamic model is discussed in detail. A dual-loop SMC/PID control scheme is proposed to control the attitude and position states of the nominal system. Actuator faults on-board the quadrotor are interpreted as motor performance losses, specifically loss in rotor speeds. To control a faulty system, an additive control scheme is implemented in conjunction with the nominal scheme.

The quadrotor platform is developed via analysis of the various subcomponents. In addition, various physical parameters of the quadrotor are determined experimentally. Simulated and experimental testing showed promising results, and provide encouragement for further refinement in the future.