Cooperative transport control by a multicopter system

Kento Kotani, Zhiqin Guo, Toru Namerikawa, Zhihua Qu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


To date, multicopters have mainly been used in the entertainment and information-gathering fields, but can potentially be used to transport payloads. Specifically, multicopters are more suited for manoeuvring tough terrains and delivering payloads to areas unaccessible by other means. The authors propose a control method to achieve cooperative transport with a plural multicopter system and address the problem of delivering a payload being suspended via cables from multicopters. In cooperative transport using a multicopter system, disturbance (weight, wind, and inertia force) may cause destabilization. A consensus algorithm is used to coordinate flight of helicopters in a formation and to ensure that the payload follows a virtual leader. Disturbances (such as wind and cable tension) are primary causes of destabilization and, in the multicopter setting, they are suppressed by an adaptive robust control, Robust Integral of Sign of the Error control. It is shown that the proposed control design can achieve not only convergence under the ideal setting but also robust operation under significant disturbances. In addition, additional control objectives such as cable tension, payload attitude, and collision avoidance can be integrated and achieved. As an auxiliary method, cable tension control, maintaining a horizontal payload attitude, and collision avoidance are considered. The usefulness of the proposed method was verified by simulations and laboratory flight testing demonstrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-876
Number of pages16
JournalIET Control Theory and Applications
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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