Enabling Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) to use Tools in Complex Dynamic Environments
This project is led by the University of Canterbury, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Karl Stol, Bruce MacDonald, Peter Xu, Shahab Kazemi, Nicholas Kay, Salim Al-zubaidi, Chantelle Singh, Caleb Probine, David Yang, Jonty Kirk, Katrina Chan, Jos Spaans, Sam Gilbert, Benjamin Holt, Cameron Dallas, Lex Hostler, Raymond Hu
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/drones) are revolutionising surveying and inspection tasks which once required manned aircraft, and are becoming a standard tool for a wide range of applications. However, one glaring omission is the ability to accurately use tools to perform precision tasks in high and hard-to-reach locations.
This research will design, build and demonstrate a compact UAV with precise six degrees-of-freedom positioning capability enabled by new control methods, airframe designs, aerodynamic models, and position estimation (visual odometry) in dynamically changing (windy) environments.
Rotor Configuration and Control of High Precision Drones
Salim Al-zubaidi. Supervisors: Karl Stol & Peter Xu
With the rise of the UAV use in interaction, the ability of the UAV to change the contact force instantaneously and the control of all axes independently became important aspect of the UAV performance.
This research aims to present a new UAV configuration with the potential for improved horizontal agility. An optimisation process is developed to maximise the horizontal bandwidth. A control algorithm will be developed to make use of the improved capabilities of the UAV.
- Enabling Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) to use Tools in Complex Dynamic Environments
- Experimental Validation of a UAV Configuration Optimisation Algorithm
- Drone Airframe Optimization
- Variable-Pitch Propellers for Highly Agile Drones
- Al-Zubaidi, S., Stol, K. “Analysis of the Transient Response of UAV Rotors”, 14th Annual International Micro Air Vehicle Conference and Competition, Aachen, Germany, 2023
- Al-Zubaidi, S., Stol, K. “Preliminary design optimisation of a novel fixed-tilt heterogeneous UAV for horizontal agility”, 2022 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), 2022
Dexterity assessment of over-actuated drones
Chantelle Singh. Supervisor: Karl Stol
Aerial manipulation is the ability to interact with the environment using a UAV. This is typically achieved using a tool or an aerial manipulator. An important characteristic in whether manipulation is successful is dexterity. There is yet to be a standardized way to assess the dexterity of UAVs.
This project will focus on developing a standardized dexterity assessment consisting of several tests to determine how dexterous an over-actuated UAV is. It will be such that it is easily replicated and can be used on a range of UAVs.
An adaptable leg for multirotor UAVs
Summer Research Project
Junwoo Park. Supervisor: Shahab Kazemi
Although UAVs have been developed to undertake a wide range of tasks which humans cannot accomplish, they face difficulties in being exposed to inaccessible and challenging environments. These disturbances, such as wind, can degrade the station-keeping performance of a UAV during missions, hindering its ability to complete the task.
This research is focused on designing effective and adjustable legs for UAVs, which provide vertical or multi-dimension support within various ranges of environment, allowing the UAV to perch like a bird when needed.
Agile and efficient? Novel lift rotors for a multirotor drone
Summer Research Project
Ivan Hsu. Supervisor: Nicholas Kay
Multirotor drones that perform precise physical tasks outdoors must be both efficient and agile. Efficiency means extended flight durations for tasks, while agility allows the drone to effectively counter the impact of disturbances. However, with fixed pitch propellers, these requirements tend to conflict with each other as a larger rotor is more efficient, but less agile due to its large rotational inertia.
One solution is to use a variable pitch mechanism, which can adjust the angle of the blades and generate a rapid change in thrust. This project aims to analyse the efficiency and agility of a variable pitch rotor in conjunction with a standard fixed rotor in a co-axial configuration.