Altitude control for flexible wing unmanned aerial vehicle based on active disturbance rejection control and feedforward compensation

Hao Sun, Qinglin Sun*, Wannan Wu, Zengqiang Chen, Jin Tao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


For achieving the accurate trajectory tracking of the flexible wing unmanned aerial vehicle in the complicated missions, especially the vertical component, a feedforward compensation unit–based active disturbance rejection control (ADRC) is proposed. In ADRC, the internal dynamics and complicated influence of the total disturbance will be estimated and dynamically compensated by extended state observer (ESO). It puts a very high request on the observation ability of ESO with the unpredictable external disturbance, complex internal coupling influence, and the strong nonlinear characteristic of the proposed system. For this reason, by deeply analyzing the model of this system, the varying attitude influence on the altitude control will be deduced. Then, this influence will be compensated previously by a feedforward compensation unit. Through the previous compensation of the calculable part of the internal dynamics and total disturbance, the burden of ESO can be reduced largely. In this way, it improves the control effect of the ADRC with better observation precision of ESO. After that, based on the hardware-in-the-loop simulation, the effectiveness of the proposed method is verified completely with the complicated flight missions. The robustness of the control effect and observation ability of ESO are also verified by the Monte Carlo simulation. At last, the results of actual flight experiment prove the advancement and practicability of the proposed ADRC method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-245
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Active disturbance rejection control
  • Feedforward compensation
  • Flexible wing
  • Parafoil
  • Trajectory tracking control
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle


Dive into the research topics of 'Altitude control for flexible wing unmanned aerial vehicle based on active disturbance rejection control and feedforward compensation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this