With the huge advancements in miniature sensors, actuators and processors depending mainly on the Micro and Nano-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS/NEMS), many researches are now focusing on developing miniature flying vehicles to be used in both research and commercial applications. This thesis work presents a detailed mathematical model for a Vertical Takeo ff and Landing (VTOL) type Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(UAV) known as the quadrotor. The nonlinear dynamic model of the quadrotor is formulated using the Newton-Euler method, the formulated model is detailed including aerodynamic effects and rotor dynamics that are omitted in many literature. The motion of the quadrotor can be divided into two subsystems; a rotational subsystem (attitude and heading) and a translational subsystem (altitude and x and y motion). Although the quadrotor is a 6 DOF underactuated system, the derived rotational subsystem is fully actuated, while the translational subsystem is underactuated. The derivation of the mathematical model is followed by the development of four control approaches to control the altitude, attitude, heading and position of the quadrotor in space. The fi rst approach is based on the linear Proportional-Derivative-Integral (PID) controller. The second control approach is based on the nonlinear Sliding Mode Controller (SMC). The third developed controller is a nonlinear Backstepping controller while the fourth is a Gain Scheduling based PID controller. The parameters and gains of the forementioned controllers were tuned using Genetic Algorithm (GA) technique to improve the systems dynamic response. Simulation based experiments were conducted to evaluate and compare the performance of the four developed control techniques in terms of dynamic performance, stability and the effect of possible disturbances.


Robotics, Control & Smart Systems Program

Degree Name

MS in Robotics, Control and Smart Systems

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2014

First Advisor

Habib, Maki K.

Committee Member 1

Abdelaal, Wahied Gharieb Ali

Committee Member 2

Saad, Mohamed Shawky


143 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Quadrotor helicopters.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Avrocar (VTOL airplane)


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


I would like to thank my supervisor Prof. Maki K. Habib for all his help, support and guidance. I would like to thank my mom and dad for their continuous support, for always pushing me forward and for providing me with the calm environment to work in. This work is dedicated to my fiance Sherif, without your encouragement, I would not have been here today. Thank you for always believing in me and pushing me forward. My good friend Amr gaty, words cannot express how thankful I am for all what you have done. Last but not least, my best friends Ingee, Marium, Mohamed Shalaby, Marwa, Sara, Mary, Omar Shehata and Tarek, thank you for always being there for me and encouraging me through the tough times.