Formation Flight Control of Multiple Small Autonomous Helicopters Using Predictive Control

  • Kenzo Nonami
  • Farid Kendoul
  • Satoshi Suzuki
  • Wei Wang
  • Daisuke Nakazawa


In this chapter, we present a model-based formation flight control of multiple small unmanned helicopters as an example of advanced control of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). We design the autonomous formation flight control system as a “leader-following” configuration. In order to achieve good control performance under the system constraints, the “model predictive control” is used for the translational position control of follower helicopters. Position constraints such as moving range and collision avoidance problem are considered in the real-time optimal control calculations. To achieve robustness against disturbance, a minimal-order disturbance observer is used to estimate the unmeasurable state variables and disturbance. The simulation results are presented to show the feasibility of the control strategy. The formation flight control experiment is performed using two helicopters. The experimental results demonstrate an accurate control performance. The position constraint capability is confirmed through the experiments with a single helicopter. Finally, robustness against wind is verified by a windy condition experiment.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Model Predictive Control Collision Avoidance Disturbance Observer Position Controller 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenzo Nonami
    • 1
  • Farid Kendoul
    • 2
  • Satoshi Suzuki
    • 3
  • Wei Wang
    • 4
  • Daisuke Nakazawa
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  2. 2.CSIRO Queensland Centre for Advanced TechnologiesAutonomous Systems LaboratoryPullenvaleAustralia
  3. 3.International Young Researchers Empowerment CenterShinshu UniversityUedaJapan
  4. 4.College of Information and Control EngineeringNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingP.R. China
  5. 5.Advanced Technology R&D CenterMitsubishi Electric CorporationAmagasakiJapan

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