Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)


Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Richard J. Vaccaro


The research and application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has been a hot topic recently. A UAV is defined as an aircraft which is designed not to carry a human pilot or operated with remote electronic input by the flight controller. In this thesis, the design of a control system for a quadcopter named Rolling Spider Drone is conducted. The thesis work presents the design of two kinds of controllers that can control the drone to keep it balanced and track different kinds of input trajectories. The nonlinear mathematical model for the drone is derived by the Newton-Euler method. The rotational subsystem and translational subsystem are derived to describe the attitude and position motion of drone. Techniques from linear control theory are employed to linearize the highly coupled and nonlinear quadcopter plant around equilibrium points and apply the linear feedback controller to stabilize the system. The controller is a digital tracking system that deploys LQR for system stability design. Fixed gain and adaptive gain scheduled controllers are developed and compared with different LQR weights. Step references and reference trajectories involving significant variation for the yaw angle in the xy-plane and three-dimensional space are tracked in the simulation. The physical implementation and an output feedback controller are considered for future work.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

controller_code.m (1 kB)
Controller Mode

feedback_code.m (3 kB)
Feedback Code



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.