Burak Yüksel

Address: Spemannstr. 44
72076 Tübingen
Room number: 2.VR.01
Phone: +49 7071 601 213
Fax: +49 7071 601 616
E-Mail: burak.yueksel
Picture of Yüksel, Burak

Burak Yüksel

Position: PhD Student

I am a guest scientist in the Autonomous Robotics and Human Machine Systems group at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics.


I currently work as a development engineer @ITK-Engineering GmbH (100% subsidiary of Bosch GmbH).


I have completed my PhD on physical interaction of flying robots with Dr. Antonio Franchi in the Autonomous Robotics and Human Machine Systems group at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. I have defended my thesis on 17.02.2017 at IST-University of Stuttgart (Prof. Allgöwer) with magna cum laude.


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You can find my personal webpages here:


personal webpage


short profile


My research adresses the problem of safe physical interaction of quadrotor UAVs using energy shaping and passivity based controllers. Moreover, I study desing and control of flying robots equipped with rigid or elastic manipulator arms.


I have worked on the Wahrnehmungsbasierte Bewegungssimulation (WABS) Research Project in Motion Perception and Vehicle Simulation Research Group at Max Planck Institute for biological Cybernetics.


I have background on:


- Multi-rotor flying robots
- Manipulators
- Multi rgid/elastic body kinematics and dynamics.
- Bipeds, Passive dynamic walking. ( Master Thesis )

Control Theory and Optimization:

- Linear/ Nonlinear Control Theory:
+  Differential flattness, exact linearization
+  Passivity-based control
+  Sliding-mode, back-stepping control
- Optimal Control Theory
- Dynamic Programming    (Visiting Scholar @ Carnegie Mellon University)
- Robust Control


- Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles  (Visiting Scholar @ Carnegie Mellon University)  
- Solar powered race cars
- Tilting three wheelers  ( Bachelor Thesis )

Design, Modeling and Control of Aerial Robots for Physical Interaction and Manipulation



The physical interaction of flying machines, a.k.a. aerial physical interaction, means that a flying machine (or robot) can exert desired forces and torques to its environment while it can preserve its stable flight. Henc e it is today in interest of many scientists, in sense of developing new control algorithms and designing novel interaction tools .



The goal of this work is to make a quadrotor, a four propeller light-weight flying robot, physically interact with its environment, while it maintains a stable flight.


We tackle the existing problems to achieve the project goal in three different ways.

  1. Studying nonlinear system and control theory for aerial physical interaction:

    We are developing new control algorithms for aerial physical interaction. It is necessary to describe the problem/goal at hand in a meaningful way. For this reason, we first presented Interconnection and Damping Assignment Passivity Based Control (IDA-PBC) framework for quadrotors in [1]. The idea is to have a controller which shapes the physical properties of a quadrotor for achieving a desired interaction behavior. In parallel to this work, we also study on different nonlinear control theories, and the results will be shared here once they are published.

  2. Estimation theory:

    We develop estimation algorithms for interaction force and torques acting on a quadrotor robot. Since force and torque measurement is an expensive procedure in sense of power, money and weight; we introduced a nonlinear force observer for quadrotors in [2].

  3. Design and manufacturing of novel tools and hardware/software development

    We have designed a novel light-weight manipulator for aerial physical interaction (see Fig.4), which can easily equipped with a small-sized aerial vehicles. More particularly, it is designed to be an elastic actuator, which is known to be providing passive compliance, which is very important for stable physical interaction. For this reason, we have developed a flexible-joint arm for flying robots such as quadrotors, to improve their aerial physical interaction capabilities [3].

    Furthermore, we are working on low-level control algorithms for brushless controllers, flight controllers and small-size computers for not only making aerial physical interaction possible, but also achieving better flying performance. To have an idea on what hardware/software we are using, see here.

Ongoing works:

Our current effort focuses on the following topics:

  1. Extension of the control theory presented so far.
  2. New control theories for controlling a flying robot with a manipulator arm.
  3. Software development using C/C++ and ROS.
  4. Integrating new actuators, hardwares to the existing systems.



Fig.1: Aerial physical interaction with the ceiling via a rigid link. On the left side the sketch is shown with contact model using proxy method, and on right side the CAD model of the real system is presented. [Video]
Fig.1: Different interaction behaviors of the same quadrotor using IDA-PBC [1].
Fig.2: Different interaction behaviors of the same quadrotor using IDA-PBC [1].
Fig.3: Using IDA-PBC with estimation of force and torques instead of measurement [2].
Fig.4: Design of a flexible-joint arm for aerial physical interaction and manipulation [3].
Fig.5: Maximizing link velocity in 3s. using time-optimal bang-bang controller during flight (amplified almost 5 times), and sliding on an uneven surface with flexible-joint arm [3]. [Video]



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A Short form:


  • PhD Student:  University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
    Institute for Systems Theory and Automatic Control (IST)
  • Master: June, 2012, Istanbul Technical University (ITU) , İstanbul, Turkey
    Department of Control Engineering, M.Sc., 3.94/4.00
  • Bachelor: June, 2010, Kocaeli University (KOU) , Kocaeli ,Turkey
    Bochum University of Applied Sciences (BO), Bochum, Germany 
    Double B.S., Mechatronics Engineering, 3.44/4.00

Professional Experiences

  • June, 2011-Oct., 2011, Carnegie Mellon University , Pittsburgh/PA, USA
    Visiting Student, Summer Research Assistant – Mechanical Engineering Department / Design and Decision Laboratory. Optimal Control of Power Management of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles Using Dynamic Programming.
  • Dec., 2010-June, 2011, Research Assistant in R&D in BEKO - Electronic Design Department, Turkey. 
    Research and development of measurement techniques with strain gauges for static & dynamic laundry load on dryers.
  • Oct., 2009-June, 2010, PEP-Long Term Internship in Mercedes-Benz, Turkey.
    Program of Intern Development (PEP) in Technical Service Department about the project of improvement and enhancement of  the torque pistols.

Awards and Scholarships

  • 2014 - 2015 - Eiffel Excellence Scholarship in PhD
  • 2010 - 2012 - TUBITAK Domestic Master Scholarship
  • 2010 - B.S. Graduate ranking 1st at the Department

Pre-PHD Posters And Presentations

  • "A Novel Co-Design Approach for Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles to Minimize Environmental Impacts", to be presented in Engineering Sustainability Conference between 7-9 April 2013.
  • "Globally Optimal Robust Design and Control of Plug-in  Hybrid Electric Vehicles", ASME-IMECE 2012, 9-15/11/12. Presenter: Karabasoglu, O.
  • " Globally Optimal Robust Design and Control of Plug-in Hybrid ElectricVehicles", INFORMS Annual Meeting, 17/10/12.
  • " Globally optimal co-design and control of electrified vehicles for minimum lifecycle cost", Carnegie Mellon Annual Environmental Research Poster Session atTung Au Laboratory, 5/8/12.
  • " Globally optimal co-design and control of electrified vehicles for minimum lifecycle cost", Carnegie Mellon Steinbrenner Institude Environmental Expo, 4/26/12.
  • " Globally optimal co-design and control of electrified vehicles for minimum lifecycle cost", Benett Conference, 4/20/12.

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Books (1):

Yüksel B Person: Design, Modeling and Control of Aerial Robots for Physical Interaction and Manipulation, 219, Logos Verlag, Berlin, Germany, (2017). ISBN: 978-3-8325-4492-8

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Last updated: Tuesday, 18.11.2014