Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Hever Moncayo

First Committee Member

Dr. Richard Prazenica

Second Committee Member

Dr. Dongeun Seo


This thesis presents the development and implementation of intelligent algorithms to increase autonomy of unmanned missions for quadrotor type UAVs. A six-degree-of freedom dynamic model of a quadrotor is developed in Matlab/Simulink in order to support the design of control algorithms previous to real-time implementation. A dynamic inversion based control architecture is developed to minimize nonlinearities and improve robustness when the system is driven outside bounds of nominal design. The design and the implementation of the control laws are described. An immunity-based architecture is introduced for monitoring quadrotor health and its capabilities for detecting abnormal conditions are successfully demonstrated through flight testing. A vision-based navigation scheme is developed to enhance the quadrotor autonomy under GPS denied environments. An optical flow sensor and a laser range finder are used within an Extended Kalman Filter for position estimation and its estimation performance is analyzed by comparing against measurements from a GPS module. Flight testing results are presented where the performances are analyzed, showing a substantial increase of controllability and tracking when the developed algorithms are used under dynamically changing environments. Healthy flights, flights with failures, flight with GPS-denied navigation and post-failure recovery are presented.