Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

, Volume 80, Issue 3–4, pp 375–384 | Cite as

Attitude Estimation in SO(3): A Comparative UAV Case Study

  • Alexandra Moutinho
  • Miguel Figueirôa
  • José Raul Azinheira


This paper introduces a novel algorithm to obtain attitude estimations from low cost inertial measurement units including 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis magnetometer. This nonlinear attitude estimator is derived from Lyapunov’s theory and formulated in the special orthogonal group SO(3). The impact of the gyroscope bias is also assessed and an online estimator provided. The performance of the proposed estimator is validated and compared to current commonly used methods, namely the classical extended Kalman filter and two other nonlinear estimators in SO(3). Realistic simulations consider a quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicle subject to wind disturbances and whose sensors parameters have been identified from flight tests data.


Attitude estimation Nonlinear observer UAV Online bias estimation Inertial measurement unit 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Moutinho
    • 1
  • Miguel Figueirôa
    • 2
  • José Raul Azinheira
    • 1
  1. 1.LAETA, IDMEC, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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