Cooperative transportation drones – Kevin Webb

Kevin Webb, a student in Professor Jonathan Rogers’ Aerial Robotics and Experimental Autonomy Laboratory  (AREAL), has been using the IFL for the flight testing of multiple cooperative UAVs for the purpose of autonomous package transportation.  The objective of this project is to develop a modular framework which will allow multiple UAVs to dock to a single payload.  In this way, heavy lift capacity may be distributed among several inexpensive autonomous aircraft, driving down logistical costs of aerial transportation.  For this composite aircraft, each individual UAV is given an additional rotational degree of freedom, allowing for sufficient heading control authority in the case of imperfect modular assembly.  For early flight testing, an analogous system has been constructed from an aluminum cross configuration, such that four cooperative UAVs are assembled in a symmetric assembly.