Title: Environmental Interaction with a Mobile Manipulating Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (MM-UAV)
Advisor: Dr. Paul Oh
Date: Friday, May 2, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: ECE Conference Room 302, 3rd Floor, Bossone Research Enterprise Center
Given significant mobility advantages, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have access to many locations that would be impossible for an unmanned ground vehicle to reach, but UAV research has historically focused on avoiding interactions with the environment. Recent advances in UAV size to payload and manipulator weight to payload ratios suggest the possibility of integration in the near future, opening the door to UAVs that can interact with their environment by manipulating objects. Because rotorcraft are inherently unstable, introduce ground effects, and experience changing flight dynamics under external loads, this research addresses the difficult task of maintaining a stable UAV platform while interacting with objects using one or more dexterous arms.
This thesis establishes a way forward to solve the critical gap in aerial manipulation: characterizing reactionary forces and torques and the impact of those reactions transmitted back to a 6-DoF flying robot with arms. A force control scheme is presented to achieve manipulation from an aerial vehicle with multi-degree of freedom manipulators. Through an analysis of loosely and strongly coupled interactions with the environment, such tasks as pick-and-place, peg-in-hole, and valve turning are investigated for model verification and benchmarking. Recent results in arm motions that achieve increased flight stability indicate a tested methodology to achieve control of an air vehicle while interacting with the environment. Classic controls experiments are shown on hardware, test rigs, and in simulation to demonstrate whole-body locomotion and planning for an aerial manipulator.