Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Ababei, Cristinel

Second Advisor

Schneider, Susan

Third Advisor

Brown, Ronald


This thesis overviews crucial concepts involved in achieving quadcopter flight such as orientation estimation and control system implementation. This thesis also presents researchers with comprehensive hardware and software specifications for a quadcopter system. The primary application for this system would be for research with regards to the implementation of advance control techniques as well as data acquisition. Key constructs of this system include hardware software specifications for a flight controller, the radio system, and the sensorless brushless motor controllers. Firstly, the thesis starts by developing a reference frame and a mathematical model for the quadcotper system. Next, flight orientation estimation is determined through an assortment of MEMS sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer. Each sensor will be individually addressed as to its strengths and weaknesses with regards to orientation estimation. An algorithm will then be proposed for the data fusion of these various sensors. This fused data will then be fed into a control system that will efficiently stabilize the quadcopter. Finally, this thesis will overview methods of integrating lidar data directly into the quadcopter's control system. Real-world lidar data is used and a computational geometry algorithm, ICL, is employed to translate the point cloud data into relevant control parameters.