Pitch and roll attitude estimation of a small-scaled helicopter using single antenna GPS with gyroscopes

Hian Kun Tenn, Shau Shiun Jan, Fei Bin Hsiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


A method is presented for estimating the roll and pitch attitude of a small-scaled unmanned helicopter based on the velocity measurements of the global positioning system (GPS). The small-scaled helicopter is a radio controlled (RC) model which is readily available and affordable for academic laboratories as a research platform. Only one single antenna GPS receiver is equipped on the RC helicopter to acquire the velocity measurements needed for the attitude estimation. The velocity information is recorded by the onboard computer for post-processing. An attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) is used to provide the reference attitudes. The required angular rates and heading for this study are also given by the gyroscopes and compass of the AHRS for the sake of system's simplification. The Kalman filter is applied to estimate the helicopter's accelerations by using the GPS velocity measurements. The estimated accelerations form the fundamental elements of synthesizing the pseudo-roll and the pseudo-pitch. With some legitimate simplifications and assumptions, the relation between the helicopter's attitudes and the accelerations estimated from the GPS velocity measurements can be developed. Furthermore, to enhance the accuracy of the pseudo-attitudes, the angular rates acquired from the gyroscopes are incorporated into the estimation algorithm of pseudo-attitudes by using a complementary filter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-220
Number of pages12
JournalGPS Solutions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Pitch and roll attitude estimation of a small-scaled helicopter using single antenna GPS with gyroscopes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this