Low-cost drones learn precise control over suspended loads

Drones get into the swing of things by taking the swing out of things

Giuseppe Loianno (electrical & computer, and mechanical & aerospace engineering) explores ways of making drones more stable mid-flight while carrying swinging loads.

Typically, engineering aerial drones to maintain stability while lofting cargo is an expensive and complex endeavor. Research by Loianno and his team at the Agile Robotics and Perception Lab (ARPL) has made such capabilities possible in smaller, more affordable drones.

The investigators are able to keep the drone in control over its payload, dangling underneath solely with onboard equipment (an IMU and a downward-facing monocular camera and a  Snapdragon processor).

Loianno explained that "...The proposed control method guarantees the visibility of the payload in the robot camera as well as the respect of the system dynamics and actuator constraints. These are critical design aspects to guarantee safety and resilience for such a complex and delicate task involving transportation of objects."