From Propeller Damage Estimation and Adaptation to Fault Tolerant Control: Enhancing Quadrotor Resilience

Jeffrey Mao, Jennifer Yeom, Suraj Nair, Giuseppe Loianno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aerial robots are required to remain operational even in the event of system disturbances, damages, or failures to ensure resilient and robust task completion and safety. One common failure case is propeller damage, which presents a significant challenge in both quantification and compensation. In this letter, we propose a novel adaptive control scheme capable of detecting and compensating for multi-rotor propeller damages, ensuring safe and robust flight performances. Our solution combines an L1 adaptive controller with an optimization routine for damage inference and compensation of single or dual propellers, with the capability to seamlessly transition to a fault-tolerant solution in case the damage becomes severe. We experimentally identify the conditions under which the L1 adaptive solution remains preferable over a fault-tolerant alternative. Experimental results validate the proposed approach demonstrating the ability of our solution to adapt and compensate onboard in real time on a quadrotor for damages even when multiple propellers are damaged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4297-4304
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2024


  • Aerial systems: mechanics and control
  • aerial systems: applications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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