A novel overactuated quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle: Modeling, control, and experimental validation

Markus Ryll, Heinrich H. Bülthoff, Paolo Robuffo Giordano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

301 Scopus citations


Standard quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) possess a limited mobility because of their inherent underactuation, that is, availability of four independent control inputs (the four propeller spinning velocities) versus the 6 degrees of freedom parameterizing the quadrotor position/orientation in space. Thus, the quadrotor pose cannot track arbitrary trajectories in space (e.g., it can hover on the spot only when horizontal). Because UAVs are more and more employed as service robots for interaction with the environment, this loss of mobility due to their underactuation can constitute a limiting factor. In this paper, we present a novel design for a quadrotor UAV with tilting propellers which is able to overcome these limitations. Indeed, the additional set of four control inputs actuating the propeller tilting angles is shown to yield full actuation to the quadrotor position/orientation in space, thus allowing it to behave as a fully actuated flying vehicle. We then develop a comprehensive modeling and control framework for the proposed quadrotor, and subsequently illustrate the hardware and software specifications of an experimental prototype. Finally, the results of several simulations and real experiments are reported to illustrate the capabilities of the proposed novel UAV design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6868215
Pages (from-to)540-556
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerial robotics
  • aerodynamical modeling
  • dynamical modeling
  • flight control
  • overactuation
  • quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • redundancy resolution


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