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Disturbance observer-based robust adaptive control for uncertain actuated nonlinear systemwith disturbances

Nigar Ahmed (College of Automation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)
Mou Chen (Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China)

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 17 August 2021

Issue publication date: 22 September 2021




The aim of this research paper is to design a disturbance observer (DO)-based robust adaptive tracking control of uncertain nonlinear system subject to unknown nonlinear disturbance.


To achieve desired control objectives, i.e. nonlinear trajectory tracking and disturbance attenuation, firstly, a control scheme is designed based on the adaptive criteria integrated in sliding mode control (SMC). In the second step, the disturbance estimation criterion is designed followed by patching with the controller obtained in the first step. Following the control development, using the Lyapunov candidate function, the stability criterion is ensured by designing appropriate adaptive gains.


In this paper, a robust adaptive nonlinear tracking method is presented. The findings includes the design of adaptive gains for the control parameters involved in the robust SMC technique, i.e. adaptive criterion is designed for the switching gain as well as for the gain used in sliding mode surface. Furthermore, a disturbance estimation criterion is developed to attenuate nonlinear disturbances with variable frequency and magnitude. Finally, the disturbance estimation scheme is combined with the control technique to obtain DO-based control (DOBC) algorithm.

Practical implications

Sliding mode control is a powerful robust control method. And, combining it with the DO achieves the control objectives of plants subject to disturbances and uncertainties. However, usually the uncertainties and disturbances are unknown and time varying. Thus, during practical implementation, designing the standard SMC is a challenging task due to the constant gains involved in the control design. Hence, it is important to have a criterion which adapts to the varying dynamics of plants due to the uncertainties and disturbances for achieving practical implementation of the control system.


Sliding mode control has been widely used for achieving the desired control objectives and robustness in the close-loop nonlinear systems. Besides, the SMC technique has been combined with the DOs as well. However, mostly the ideal conditions were considered during these developments, which required the control gains to be designed simply by manual tuning appropriately. However, by considering the real-time dynamics, uncertainties and disturbances, the constant control gain criteria can fail. Furthermore, due to external and internal disturbances, the model plant can vary with time. Thus, it is important to design the adaptive criteria for the control gains in DOBC schemes.



Ahmed, N. and Chen, M. (2021), "Disturbance observer-based robust adaptive control for uncertain actuated nonlinear systemwith disturbances", Assembly Automation, Vol. 41 No. 5, pp. 567-576.



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