Drone and Quadcopter Modeling , Control and Co-Simulation

Here we present the basics of quadcopter (or Drone) modelling and control as to form a basis for design and development in the area and for student teams to quickly be able to create control systems and co-simulation for their own drone projects.

Quadcopter, also known as quadrotor, is a helicopter with four rotors. The rotors are directed upwards and they are placed in a square formation with equal distance from the center of mass of the quadcopter. The quadcopter is controlled by adjusting the angular velocities of the rotors which are spun by electric motors. Quadcopter is a typical design for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) because of the simple structure. Quadcopters are used in surveillance, search and rescue, construction inspections and several other applications.

Drone Modeling, Control, Simulation and Visualization using Altair Activate

In this three part series,

  1. A system is developed to model the dynamics of a quadcopter with the rotor speeds as the four primary inputs, The data from this model is then compared to the data found in the included paper in order to verify its accuracy.
  2. Next a PD controller is developed to control a drone The controller takes the current dynamics of the system as its input, and ouputs rotor speeds to bring the system to the desired dynamics.
  3. A simulator is developed that allows the user to provide input to the PD controller of the drone, which will then control the drone’s rotors accordingly. The location of the drone can be seen via the included visualization.

Drone Modeling, Control and Validation (Step 1)

Adding a PD controller and Validation (Step 2)

Creating a Simulator and Visualization (Step 3)

Drone Modeling in Altair Inspire, Control modeling and Validation in Altair Activate

In this training video Series

  1. A drone model is developed in Altair Inspire
  2. A system is developed to model the dynamics of a quadcopter with the rotor speeds as the four primary inputs, The data from this model is then compared to reference data found in order to verify its accuracy

Quadrotor Overview Video

Altair Activate Introduction

Learn the basics of using Altair Activate and its GUI and about different modeling approaches