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This paper presents a robust control technique for small-scale unmanned helicopters to track predefined trajectories (velocities and heading) in the presence of bounded external disturbances. The controller design is based on the linearized state-space model of the helicopter. The multivariable dynamics of the helicopter is divided into two subsystems, longitudinallateral and heading-heave dynamics respectively. There is no strong coupling between these two subsystems and independent controllers are designed for each subsystem. The external disturbances and model mismatch in the longitudinal-lateral subsystem are present in all (matched and mismatched) channels. This model mismatch and external disturbances are estimated as lumped disturbances using extended disturbance observer and an extended disturbance observer based sliding mode controller is designed for it to counter the effect of these disturbances. In the case of heading-heave subsystem, external disturbances and model mismatch only occur in matched channels so a second order sliding mode controller is designed for it as it is insensitive to matched uncertainties. The control performance is successfully tested in Simulink.
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