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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.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 1

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

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Fig. 2

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

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Fig. 3

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

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Fig. 4

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

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Fig. 5

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

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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.

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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

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Fig. 8

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

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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

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Fig. 10

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

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Fig. 11

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

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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.

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