Nonlinear MPC for Quadrotor Fault-Tolerant Control

Rotor Failure MPC


The mechanical simplicity, hover capabilities, and high agility of quadrotors lead to a fast adaption in the industry for inspection, exploration, and urban aerial mobility. On the other hand, the unstable and underactuated dynamics of quadrotors render them highly susceptible to system faults, especially rotor failures. In this work, we propose a fault-tolerant controller using the nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) to stabilize and control a quadrotor subjected to the complete failure of a single rotor. Differently from existing works that either rely on linear assumptions or resort to cascaded structures neglecting input constraints in the outer-loop, our method leverages full nonlinear dynamics of the damaged quadrotor and considers the thrust constraint of each rotor. Hence, this method can seamlessly transition from nominal to rotor failure flights, and effectively perform upset recovery from extreme initial conditions. Extensive simulations and real-world experiments are conducted for validation, which demonstrates that the proposed NMPC method can effectively recover the damaged quadrotor even if the failure occurs during aggressive maneuvers, such as flipping and tracking agile trajectories.

arXiv prepring