A practical visual servo control for an unmanned aerial vehicle

Nicolas Guenard*, Tarek Hamel, Robert Mahony

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    291 Citations (Scopus)


    An image-based visual servo control is presented for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of stationary or quasi-stationary flight with the camera mounted onboard the vehicle. The target considered consists of a finite set of stationary and disjoint points lying in a plane. Control of the position and orientation dynamics is decoupled using a visual error based on spherical centroid data, along with estimations of the linear velocity and the gravitational inertial direction extracted from image features and an embedded inertial measurement unit. The visual error used compensates for poor conditioning of the image Jacobian matrix by introducing a nonhomogeneous gain term adapted to the visual sensitivity of the error measurements. A nonlinear controller, that ensures exponential convergence of the system considered, is derived for the full dynamics of the system using control Lyapunov function design techniques. Experimental results on a quadrotor UAV, developed by the French Atomic Energy Commission, demonstrate the robustness and performance of the proposed control strategy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)331-340
    Number of pages10
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


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