Research Papers

Design and Control of a Fully-Actuated Hexrotor for Aerial Manipulation Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Jameson Y. S. Lee

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Nevada, Las Vegas,
4505 S. Maryland,
Las Vegas, NV 89154
e-mail: jameson.lee@unlv.edu

Kam K. Leang

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Utah,
1495 E 100 S,
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
e-mail: kam.k.leang@utah.edu

Woosoon Yim

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Nevada, Las Vegas,
4505 S. Maryland,
Las Vegas, NV 89154
e-mail: woosoon.yim@unlv.edu

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received October 24, 2017; final manuscript received February 28, 2018; published online April 18, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Robert J. Wood.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 10(4), 041007 (Apr 18, 2018) (10 pages) Paper No: JMR-17-1361; doi: 10.1115/1.4039854 History: Received October 24, 2017; Revised February 28, 2018

This paper addresses the issue of controller complexity for multirotor aerial manipulator (AM) implementation by utilizing a special class of fully actuated hexrotor within the framework of a firmware, which allows standard multirotor actuation modes. Using this platform, manipulator and vehicle dynamics are decoupled, making the airframe inherently more robust than standard multirotor for trajectory tracking in AM applications. Furthermore, its unique design allows for the implementation of modular control strategies. The proposed rotor orientation model makes it possible to decouple the dynamics, allowing full analytical development of the optimal solution. A methodology for analysis, control allocation, and design of this special class of hexrotor is presented, and the implementation of a custom flight stack is demonstrated using a hexrotor prototype in closed-loop flight testing. The flight stack developed is compliant with the open-source ArduPilot Mega (APM) firmware, allowing it to take advantage of all generic multirotor control algorithms. Experimental results are presented to demonstrate feasibility of the system.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Arleo, G. , Caccavale, F. , Muscio, G. , and Pierri, F. , 2013, “ Control of Quadrotor Aerial Vehicles Equipped With a Robotic Arm,” 21st Mediterranean Conference on Control & Automation (MED), Chania, Greece, June 25–28, pp. 1174–1180.
Lippiello, V. , Cacace, J. , Santamaria-Navarro, A. , Andrade-Cetto, J. , Trujillo, M. A. , Esteves, Y. R. , and Viguria, A. , 2016, “ Hybrid Visual Servoing With Hierarchical Task Composition for Aerial Manipulation,” IEEE Rob. Autom. Lett., 1(1), pp. 259–266. [CrossRef]
Orsag, M. , Korpela, C. , Bogdan, S. , and Oh, P. , 2013, “ Lyapunov Based Model Reference Adaptive Control for Aerial Manipulation,” International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), Atlanta, GA, May 28–31, pp. 966–973.
Huber, F. , Kondak, K. , Krieger, K. , Sommer, D. , Schwarzbach, M. , Laiacker, M. , Kossyk, I. , Parusel, S. , Haddadin, S. , and Albu-Schaffer, A. , 2013, “ First Analysis and Experiments in Aerial Manipulation Using Fully Actuated Redundant Robot Arm,” IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 3–7, pp. 3452–3457.
Scholten, J. L. J. , Fumagalli, M. , Stramigioli, S. , and Carloni, R. , 2013, “ Interaction Control of an UAV Endowed With a Manipulator,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Karlsruhe, Germany, May 6–10, pp. 4910–4915.
Acosta, J. A. , Sanchez, M. I. , and Ollero, A. , 2014, “ Robust Control of Underactuated Aerial Manipulators Via IDA-PBC ,” IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, (CDC), Los Angeles, CA, Dec. 15–17, pp. 673–678.
Sánchez, M. I. , Acosta, J. A. , and Ollero, A. , 2015, “ Integral Action in First-Order Closed-Loop Inverse Kinematics. Application to Aerial Manipulators,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Seattle, WA, May 26–30, pp. 5297–5302.
Santamaria-Navarro, A. , Lippiello, V. , and Andrade-Cetto, J. , 2014, “ Task Priority Control for Aerial Manipulation,” 12th IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics, (SSRR) Hokkaido, Japan, Oct. 27--30, pp. 1--6.
Nikou, A. , Gavridis, G. C. , and Kyriakopoulos, K. J. , 2015, “ Mechanical Design, Modelling and Control of a Novel Aerial Manipulator,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Seattle, WA, May 26–30, pp. 4698–4703.
Park, S. , Her, J. , Kim, J. , and Lee, D. , 2016, “ Design, Modeling and Control of Omni-Directional Aerial Robot,” IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Daejeon, South Korea, Oct. 9–14, pp. 1570–1575.
Langkamp, D. , Roberts, G. , Scillitoe, A. , Lunnon, I. , Zamecnik, J. , Proctor, S. , Turner, M. , Lanzon, A. , Crowther, W. , and Llopis-Pascual, A. , 2011, “ An Engineering Development of a Novel Hexrotor Vehicle for 3D Applications,” The International Micro Air Vehicles Conference (IMAV 2011), Delft, The Netherlands, Sept. 12–15.
Jiang, G. , and Voyles, R. , 2013, “ Hexrotor UAV Platform Enabling Dextrous Aerial Mobile Manipulation,” International Micro Air Vehicle Conference and Competitions (SSRR), Linkoping, Sweden, Oct. 21–26, pp. 1–6.
Rajappa, S. , Ryll, M. , Bulthoff, H. H. , and Franchi, A. , 2015, “ Modeling, Control and Design Optimization for a Fully-Actuated Hexarotor Aerial Vehicle With Tilted Propellers,” International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Seattle, WA, May 26–30, pp. 4006–4013.
Ryll, M. , Bicego, D. , and Franchi, A. , 2016, “ Modeling and Control of FAST-Hex: A Fully Actuated by Synchronized Tilting Hexarotor,” IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Daejeon, South Korea, Oct. 9–14, pp. 1689–1694.
Craig, J. J. , 2004, Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics and Control, 3rd ed., Vol. 1, Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ.
Pounds, P. , Mahony, R. , Hynes, P. , and Roberts, J. , 2002, “ Design of a Four-Rotor Aerial Robot,” Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation, Auckland, New Zealand, Nov. 27–29, pp. 145–150.
Chovancová, A. , Fico, T. , Chovanec, U. , and Hubinsk, P. , 2014, “ Mathematical Modelling and Parameter Identification of Quadrotor (a Survey),” Procedia Eng., 96, pp. 172–181. [CrossRef]
Kotarski, D. , Piljek, P. , and Krznar, M. , 2016, “ Mathematical Modelling of Multirotor UAV,” Int. J. Theor. Appl. Mech., 1, pp. 233–238.
Antonelli, G. , Cataldi, E. , Giordano, P. R. , Chiaverini, S. , and Franchi, A. , 2013, “ Experimental Validation of a New Adaptive Control Scheme for Quadrotors MAVs,” IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 3–7, pp. 2439–2444.
Bresciani, T. , 2008, “ Modelling, Identification and Control of a Quadrotor Helicopter,” M.Sc. thesis, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

General transform overview: position of the ith rotor frame of a parallel hexrotor {i′}

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Rotor orientation: representation of nonparallel hexrotor unique rotor rotations Tii′

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Motor testing: these tests provided experimental values for the thrust and drag coefficients

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Force/torque measurements of the antigravity motor: linear fitting between square rotor speed and measured rotor frame thrust and torque

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Command signal from the Pixhawk flight management unit: 400 Hz square wave signals are sent at some μs pulse width

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Torque curves: these curves show how torques are scaled to effective rotor control vectors Eiω2. L was taken to be 0.7024 m as this is the cross-span of the prototype.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Nonparallel hexrotor user control allocation: control may be allocated as shown, where throttle, forward, and lateral force, and yaw torque may be commanded to affect flight

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Decoupled forward force generation test: force saturation was measured on the rig shown in Fig. 7

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Controller schematic: the custom flight mode added to the firmware includes a channel selector which switches radio control (RC) channels 1 and 2 function to control either XY force or roll/pitch torque production

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Midflight image of the designed nonparallel hexrotor: UAV captured during a closed loop position test

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Position tracking of the nonparallel hexrotor: positions are referenced from an arbitrary Optitrack frame

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Pose tracking of the nonparallel hexrotor: the signals shown here were calculated for specific state feedback control. Pose is referenced from an arbitrary Optitrack frame.




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In