Aggressive Flight with Quadrotors for Perching on Inclined Surfaces


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


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.


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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 = {},
year = {2015}