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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1823056, 17 pages
Research Article

Characterization of the Aerodynamic Ground Effect and Its Influence in Multirotor Control

Robotics, Vision and Control Group, University of Seville, Seville, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Guillermo Heredia

Received 14 February 2017; Revised 6 July 2017; Accepted 13 July 2017; Published 17 August 2017

Academic Editor: Kenneth M. Sobel

Copyright © 2017 Pedro Sanchez-Cuevas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper analyzes the ground effect in multirotors, that is, the change in the thrust generated by the rotors when flying close to the ground due to the interaction of the rotor airflow with the ground surface. This effect is well known in single-rotor helicopters but has been assumed erroneously to be similar for multirotors in many cases in the literature. In this paper, the ground effect for multirotors is characterized with experimental tests in several cases and the partial ground effect, a situation in which one or some of the rotors of the multirotor (but not all) are under the ground effect, is also characterized. The influence of the different cases of ground effect in multirotor control is then studied with several control approaches in simulation and validated with experiments in a test bench and with outdoor flights.