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”


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.