Teaching Tool for a Control Systems Laboratory Using a Quadrotor as a Plant in MATLAB

Subhan Khan*, Mujtaba Hussain Jaffery, Athar Hanif, Muhammad Rizwan Asif

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a MATLAB-based application to teach the guidance, navigation, and control concepts of a quadrotor to undergraduate students, using a graphical user interface (GUI) and 3-D animations. The Simulink quadrotor model is controlled by a proportional integral derivative controller and a linear quadratic regulator controller. The GUI layout's many components can be easily programmed to perform various experiments by considering the simulation of the quadrotor as a plant; it incorporates control systems (CS) fundamentals such as time domain response, transfer function and state-space form, pole-zero location, root locus, frequency domain response, steady-state error, position and disturbance response, controller design and tuning, unity, and the use of a Kalman filter as a feedback sensor. 3-D animations are used to display the quadrotor flying in any given condition selected by the user. For each simulation, users can view the output response in the form of 3-D animations, and can run time plots. The quadrotor educational tool (QET) helps students in the CS laboratory understand basic CS concepts. The QET was evaluated based on student feedback, grades, satisfaction, and interest in CS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7836322
JournalIEEE Transactions on Education
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D animations
  • control systems
  • educational software
  • learning technology
  • quadrotor educational tool
  • remote laboratory
  • student experience


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