Tricopters, quadcopters, hexacopters, octocopters, etc.
The drone-world is evolving quite fast and nowadays one can see very curious vehicles and configurations that surprisingly (or not) are able to fly properly.
This is due to the possibility that some open source autopilots like Pixhawk or APM offers to develop customized control algorithms for unimaginable vehicle configurations. The majority of control laws are based on PID controllers that allow to even overactuated systems, as octocopters, to be controlled “easily” as the physics of vehicle is “simple” but...
What if the autopilot has to deal with highly overactuated systems whose actuators have very different dynamics and effects?
Our aim as DroneBoX team is learning, researching and developing innovative ideas of unmanned system for logistics purposes. Our first prototype, XXCopter, aims to be a technology demonstrator for warehouses logistics capable of picking up loads from vertical storages and transporting it to a specified location inside the same warehouse.
In terms of technology, it is a 9dof of control tricopter controlled by the throttle level of each motor and the movement of two joints in each arm, using advance control techniques like Non-linear Dynamic Inversion or Control Allocation and open source autopilot like Pixhawk.
Note that this system is a real control challenge not only because the dynamics of the control parameters are really different but also because the inertia and mass properties change when a control order is applied. In addition, one must consider the gyroscopic effects, non-linearity, etc.
We let you with some of the tests carried out so far with the arms:
Do you want to see more details, the assembling process, code, some test and the results?
We will release soon some news about our second prototype, which aims to be a true game changing vehicle for last mile logistics and more.
Yes, very keen to know more.
As you said: These technology has a interesting application on logistics, moving things trough the air.
It is our task now to provide these robots with enough capabilities to develop such tasks as picking things from shelves or tables and navigate indoor.
We are looking forward to see your approach on these and happy not to be alone!
nice work! At our university we are also starting up some projects on drones in logistics. Multicopters with some more DOF's can be interesting for manipulating large objects. For the moment we have a 12 DOF hexacopter but it still needs a lot of work on control to fully utulise these :)