Failure Detection of Composites with Control System Corrective Response in Drone System Applications

Mark Bowkett, Kary Thanapalan, Ewen Constant

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The paper describes a novel method for the detection of damage in carbon composites as used in drone frames. When damage is detected a further novel corrective response is initiated in the quadcopter flight controller to switch from a four-arm control system to a three-arm control system. This is made possible as a symmetrical frame is utilized, which allows for a balanced weight distribution between both the undamaged quadcopter and the fallback tri-copter layout. The resulting work allows for continued flight where this was not previously possible. Further developing work includes improved flight stability with the aid of an underslung load model. This is beneficial to the quadcopter as a damaged arm attached to the main body by the motor wires behaves as an underslung load. The underslung load works are also transferable in a dual master and slave drone system where the master drone transports a smaller slave drone by a tether, which acts as an underslung load.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Symposium on Computer Science and Intelligent Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2018


  • drone system
  • operational safety
  • controller design
  • failure detection
  • printed circuit board (PCB) design


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