PhD Defense

My defense was on Wednesday, December 21st at 4:30pm in Towne 337. If you’re interested, see the video below.

Title: “Grasping, Perching, and Visual Servoing for Micro Aerial Vehicles”

Abstract:

Micro Aerial Vehicles have seen massive exposure in the consumer market, providing new vantage points for aerial photography and videography. However, there is little to no consideration for interaction with the surrounding environment. Onboard manipulators are absent, and onboard perception, if existent, is used to avoid obstacles and maintain a minimum distance. However, there are many applications such as construction, infrastructure inspection, transportation of goods, environmental sampling, and automated recharging, which would benefit greatly from the capabilities of aerial manipulation or flight in close proximity to desired targets.

This work is focused on facilitating these types of close interactions between quadrotors and surrounding objects. We first explore high-speed grasping, enabling a quadrotor to quickly grasp an object while moving at a high relative velocity. Next, we discuss planning and control strategies, empowering a quadrotor to perch on vertical surfaces using a downwards-facing gripper. The incorporation of vision-based control and vision-based planning demonstrate that such interactions can be achieved using only onboard sensors. In particular, we show how a quadrotor can use a single camera and an Inertial Measurement Unit to perch on a cylinder. Finally, we extend the capabilities to consider tracking and acquisition of objects in motion.

Aggressive Flight with Quadrotors for Perching on Inclined Surfaces

Authors

Justin Thomas, Morgan Pope, Giuseppe Loianno, Elliot W. Hawkes, Matthew A. Estrada, Hao Jiang, Mark R. Cutkosky, Vijay Kumar

Abstract

Micro aerial vehicles face limited flight times, which adversely impacts their efficacy for scenarios such as first response and disaster recovery, where it might be useful to deploy persistent radio relays and quadrotors for monitoring or sampling. Thus, it is important to enable micro aerial vehicles to land and perch on different surfaces to save energy by cutting power to motors. We are motivated to use a downwards-facing gripper for perching, as opposed to a side-mounted gripper, since it could also be used to carry payloads. In this paper, we predict and verify the performance of a custom gripper designed for perching on smooth surfaces. We also present control and planning algorithms, enabling an underactuated quadrotor with a downwards-facing gripper to perch on inclined surfaces while satisfying constraints on actuation and sensing. Experimental results demonstrate the proposed techniques through successful perching on a glass surface at various inclinations, including vertical.

Video

Coming soon!

PDF

Coming soon!

BibTeX

@article{Thomas2016:JMR,
author = {Thomas, Justin and Pope, Morgan and Loianno, Giuseppe and Hawkes, Elliot W and Estrada, Matthew A. and Jiang, Hao and Cutkosky, Mark R. and Kumar, Vijay},
doi = {10.1115/1.4032250},
issn = {1942-4302},
journal = {Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics},
month = {dec},
publisher = {ASME},
title = {{Aggressive Flight for Perching on Inclined Surfaces}},
url = {http://mechanismsrobotics.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/article.aspx?doi=10.1115/1.4032250},
year = {2015}
}

Planning and Control of Aggresive Maneuvers for Perching on Inclined and Vertical Surfaces

Authors

Justin Thomas, Giuseppe Loianno, Morgan Pope, Elliot W. Hawkes, Matthew A. Estrada, Hao Jiang, Mark R. Cutkosky, Vijay Kumar

Abstract
It is important to enable micro aerial vehicles to land and perch on different surfaces to save energy by cutting power to motors and to perform tasks such as persistent surveillance. In many cases, the best available surfaces may be vertical windows, walls, or inclined roof tops. In this paper, we present approaches and algorithms for aggressive maneuvering to enable perching of underactuated quadrotors on surfaces that are not horizontal. We show the design of a custom foot/gripper for perching on smooth surfaces. Then, we present control and planning algorithms for maneuvering to land on specified surfaces while satisfying constraints on actuation and sensing. Experimental results that include successful perching on vertical, glass surfaces validate the proposed techniques.

Video

PDF

pdf

BibTeX

@inproceedings{Thomas2015,
address = {Boston},
author = {Thomas, Justin and Loianno, Giuseppe and Pope, Morgan and Hawkes, Elliot W. and Estrada, Matthew A. and Jiang, Hao and Cutkosky, Mark R. and Kumar, Vijay},
booktitle = {International Design Engineering Technical Conferences \& Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE)},
publisher = {ASME},
title = {{Planning and Control of Aggresive Maneuvers for Perching on Inclined and Vertical Surfaces}},
year = {2015}
}

Toward autonomous avian-inspired grasping for micro aerial vehicles

swoop_grasp_im_sequence sequence_scaled_down

Media

[pdf, video, web]

Text Reference

J. Thomas, G. Loianno, J. Polin, K. Sreenath, and V. Kumar, “Toward autonomous avian-inspired grasping for micro aerial vehicles,” Bioinspir. Biomim., vol. 9, no. 2, p. 025010, Jun. 2014.

BibTeX

@article{Thomas2014BB,
author = {Thomas, Justin and Loianno, Giuseppe and Polin, Joseph and Sreenath, Koushil and Kumar, Vijay},
doi = {10.1088/1748-3182/9/2/025010},
issn = {1748-3182},
journal = {Bioinspiration \& Biomimetics},
month = jun,
number = {2},
pages = {025010},
title = {{Toward autonomous avian-inspired grasping for micro aerial vehicles}},
url = {http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-3190/9/2/025010/},
volume = {9},
year = {2014}
}

Toward Image Based Visual Servoing for Aerial Grasping and Perching

Media

pdf | video

Text Reference

J.Thomas, G. Loianno, K. Sreenath, and V. Kumar, “Toward Image Based Visual Servoing for Aerial Grasping and Perching,” IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2014.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{Thomas2014,
author = {Thomas, Justin and Loianno, Giuseppe and Sreenath, Koushil and Kumar, Vijay},
booktitle = {ICRA},
publisher = {IEEE},
title = {{Toward Image Based Visual Servoing for Aerial Grasping and Perching}},
year = {2014}
}

2013 RSS Workshop on Aerial Mobile Manipulation

Media

poster | abstract

rss_poster_image

Text Reference

J. Thomas, J. Polin, G. Loianno, K. Sreenath, and V. Kumar, “Avian-Inspired Grasping for Quadrotor MAVs,” in Robotics: Science and Systems, Workshop on Aerial Mobile Manipulation, 2013.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{Thomas2013RSS,
address = {Berlin, Germany},
author = {Thomas, Justin and Polin, Joe and Loianno, Giuseppe and Sreenath, Koushil and Kumar, Vijay},
booktitle = {Robotics: Science and Systems, Workshop on Aerial Mobile Manipulation},
month = jun,
title = {{Avian-Inspired Grasping for Quadrotor MAVs}},
year = {2013}
}

Avian-Inspired Grasping for Quadrotor Micro UAVs

Media

pdf | video

Text Reference

J. Thomas, J. PolinK. Sreenath, and V. Kumar, “Avian-Inspired Grasping for Quadrotor Micro UAVs,” IDETC/CIE, 2013.

BibTeX

@inproceedings{Thomas2013,
author = {Thomas, Justin and Polin, Joe and Sreenath, Koushil and Kumar, Vijay},
booktitle = {IDETC/CIE},
publisher = {ASME},
title = {{Avian-Inspired Grasping for Quadrotor Micro UAVs}},
year = {2013}
}