A Compact and Lightweight Aerial Manipulator for Installation and Retrieval of Sensors in the Environment

Salua Hamaza, Ioannis Georgilas , Andrew Conn, Guillermo Heredia, Anibal Ollero, Tom Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

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Abstract

On-site inspection of large-scale infrastructure often involves high risks for the operators and therefore high costs. Despite several safety measures already in place to avoid accidents, an increasing concern has generated the need to remotely monitor hard-to-reach locations, for which the use of aerial robots able to interact with the environment has arisen. In this paper a novel approach to aerial manipulation is presented, where a lightweight compact manipulator with a single degree-of-freedom has been tailored for installation and retrieval of sensors in the environment. The proposed design integrates on-board sensing, a high-performance force controller on the manipulator, and a thrust-to-force mapping on the flight controller. Experimental results demonstrate the high reliability achieved during both installations and retrieval tasks on flat surfaces (e.g. a bridge wall) and cylindrical surfaces (e.g. tree trunks). A total number of 89 flight experiments were carried out in order to demonstrate the robustness and potential of the compact, bespoke aerial design.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Field Robotics
Publication statusSubmitted - 11 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Aerial Robotics Applications
  • Aerial Robotics Mechanics and Control
  • MECHANISM DESIGN
  • Aerial Systems

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