Cooperative Formation Control under Switching Topology: An Experimental Case Study in Multirotors

Zhanxiu Wang, Tengfei Liu, Zhong Ping Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents a novel design algorithm for the cooperative formation control of multirotors with directed and switching topology. A key strategy is to transform the formation control problem into an output agreement problem for which a class of cooperative controllers with successive loops is developed to achieve output agreement. For practical implementation, velocities and accelerations of the controlled multirotors are restricted to within desired ranges by introducing appropriate saturations to the loops. It is proved that each controlled multirotor admits an invariant set property, and the formation control objective can be achieved if a mild joint connectivity condition is satisfied by the switching topology. Along the way, this article also proves a result of independent interest in the output agreement problem subject to both velocity and control input constraints with switching topology. Numerical simulations and physical experiments are employed to verify the effectiveness of the proposed design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6141-6153
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cybernetics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Cooperative control
  • flexible topologies
  • formation control
  • multirotors
  • physical constraints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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