A Monocular SLAM-based Controller for Multirotors with Sensor Faults under Ground Effect

Sensors (Basel). 2019 Nov 13;19(22):4948. doi: 10.3390/s19224948.


Multirotor micro air vehicles can operate in complex and confined environments that are otherwise inaccessible to larger drones. Operation in such environments results in airflow interactions between the propellers and proximate surfaces. The most common of these interactions is the ground effect. In addition to the increment in thrust efficiency, this effect disturbs the onboard sensors of the drone. In this paper, we present a fault-tolerant scheme for a multirotor with altitude sensor faults caused by the ground effect. We assume a hierarchical control structure for trajectory tracking. The structure consists of an external Proportional-Derivative controller and an internal Proportional-Integral controller. We consider that the sensor faults occur on the inner loop and counteract them in the outer loop. In a novel approach, we use a metric monocular Simultaneous Localization and Mapping algorithm for detecting internal faults. We design the fault diagnosis scheme as a logical process which depends on the weighted residual. Furthermore, we propose two control strategies for fault mitigation. The first combines the external PD controller and a function of the residual. The second treats the sensor fault as an actuator fault and compensates with a sliding mode action. In either case, we utilize onboard sensors only. Finally, we evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies in simulations and experiments.

Keywords: ground effect; multirotor; sensor faults.