Development of a Quad Cycloidal-Rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 The American Helicopter Society. This paper discusses the detailed vehicle design, control system development/implementation, and autonomous hover flight testing of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototype utilizing cycloidal rotors (or cyclorotors), which is a horizontal-axis rotary wing concept. The present vehicle configuration has a gross weight of 800 g (2 ft 2 ft 1.5 ft in dimension) and uses four cyclorotors in an axi-symmetric plus-shaped configuration where each rotor axis is mutually orthogonal to the adjacent one. The vehicle is designed such that the magnitude and direction of the thrust vector for each of the cyclorotors could be independently varied using rotor rotational speed and thrust vectoring capability, which are inherent to this concept. An attitude control strategy has been developed for the present aircraft (quad-cyclocopter), where pitch and roll control is through differential rotational speed control of the rotors, whereas yaw control is through thrust vectoring. Controlling pitch and roll through rotational speed control couples pitch and roll dynamics for the present configuration and therefore requires adjustment of all four rotor speeds appropriately for either pure pitch or roll motions. The control strategy is implemented using a 3-g autopilot, which autonomously stabilizes the vehicle using a feedback proportional-derivative controller.

published proceedings

  • Journal of the American Helicopter Society

author list (cited authors)

  • Benedict, M., Mullins, J., Hrishikeshavan, V., & Chopra, I.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Benedict, Moble||Mullins, Joseph||Hrishikeshavan, Vikram||Chopra, Inderjit

publication date

  • January 2016