Improved PVTOL Test Bench for the Study of Over-Actuated Tilt-Rotor Propulsion Systems

Luis Amezquita-Brooks, Eber Maciel-Martínez, Diana Hernandez-Alcantara*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, applications exploiting the advantages of tilt-rotors and other vectored thrust propulsion systems have become widespread, particularly in many novel Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) configurations. These propulsion systems can provide additional control authority, enabling more complex flight modes, but the resulting control systems can be challenging to design due to the mismatch between the vehicle degrees of freedom and physical input variables. These propulsion systems present both advantages and difficulties because they can exert the same overall forces and moments in many different propulsive configurations. This leads to the traditional non-uniqueness problem when using the inverse dynamics control allocation approach, which is the basis of many popular VTOL control algorithms. In this article, a modified Planar VTOL (PVTOL) test bench configuration, which considers an arbitrary number of co-linear tilting rotors, is introduced as a benchmark for the study of the control allocation problem. The resulting propulsion system is then modeled and linearized in a closed and compact form. This allows a simple and systematic derivation of many of the currently used control allocation approaches. According to the proposed PVTOL configuration, a two-rotor test bench is implemented experimentally and a decoupling control allocation strategy based on Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) analysis is developed. The proposed approach is compared with a traditional input mixer algorithm based on physical intuition. The results show that the SVD-based solution achieves better cross-coupling reduction and preserves the main properties of the physically derived approach. Finally, it is shown that the proposed PVTOL configuration is effective for studying the control allocation problem experimentally in a controlled environment and could serve as a benchmark for comparing different approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number46
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Optimization
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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