Autonomous Airborne Docking for Refueling or Recharging

This video shows some recent flight test results from my PhD research on autonomous UAV docking, that was conducted with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) at The University of Sydney. To the best of our knowledge, these experiments are the first time two UAVs have docked in mid-air.

Some of my other videos provide more specifics on the hardware/software, but I'm using my own autopilot, a Beaglebone Black as the formation flight computer and an Odroid U3 to do the onboard vision processing. All the guidance, navigation and control algorithms on all the hardware is developed in Simulink and automatically converted to C/C++.

The IR vision aspect is probably of interest to some of the guys doing auto-landing with IR beacons. We use a C920 with narrow bandpass filter and 940nm LED markers without modulation. It works in all lighting conditions except when looking directly at the sun where the high number of false positives are difficult to distinguish from the actual markers, but there are a number of ways to handle this infrequent situation.

There are some nice airborne shots so watch in HD!

Views: 3748

Comment by Jason Franciosa on April 18, 2015 at 9:16am

Very nice! This would be a perfect execution for reliable net landing as well, in areas where ground landing is not feasible!

Comment by Cliff Dearden on April 18, 2015 at 10:30am


Comment by Brian Greeson on April 18, 2015 at 1:35pm

Excellent! Thank you for sharing. 

Comment by Mustafa TULU on April 18, 2015 at 2:28pm

it's been a while to see such an amazing post on Great work, watched your other videos on youtube, fantastic work, keep it up.

Comment by Hans Miller on April 18, 2015 at 3:02pm

Expanding on the idea of using this for a net recovery: I wonder if this could be done using the new Pixhawk 2 in conjustion with the new higher-level controller?

Dan, would you consider making the code, or your clearly considerable talent, available to the community?

Comment by Hans Miller on April 18, 2015 at 3:04pm

* in conjunction

Comment by John Church on April 18, 2015 at 3:04pm

Totally sweet; Now they can find their own food. The end is near... :D

Comment by Andrew Tridgell on April 18, 2015 at 3:05pm

really great work!

Comment by Randy on April 18, 2015 at 3:18pm

Amazing.  The bit about coding everything in simulink is a bit mind blowing as well.

Comment by James Slizewski on April 18, 2015 at 5:40pm



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