Design and control of a modular end-effector for UAVs in interaction with a remote environment

Bartelds, J.T. (2012) Design and control of a modular end-effector for UAVs in interaction with a remote environment.

Abstract:Service tasks on large infrastructural or industrial structures, e.g. inspection of bridges on structural integrity or window cleaning of skyscrapers, usually entail laborious and expensive support structures and hazardous working environments. Recent developments on UAVs interacting with their environment offer many new possibilities, leading to service robotics becoming airborne. Within the AIRobots project [1], a European collaboration in the field of innovative aerial service robots, a manipulation system was developed to endow a UAV for interactive tasks. For this manipulator a delta structure with 3 degrees of freedom was chosen, because of the advantages of the parallel kinematics compared to serial equivalents. In sequel to this project a versatile endeffector must be developed to make full use of the broad range of possible applications the system can offer. This work covers the design of a modular end-effector capable of executing a large variety of service and maintenance tasks. Two task specific modules are elaborated: a non-destructive testing (NDT) sensor and a versatile underactuated gripper. The permanently attached basis of this modular system, i.e. the end-effector, has 3 degrees of freedom to improve the interaction stability of UAVs with unknown environments. This system is suspended with a pre-tensionable passive spring system in order to provide a stable and adaptable zero reference position, which is modelled, designed and realized. The NDT module, having one additional, actuated degree of freedom, has also been designed and realized in a lightweight prototype. The underactuated gripping module has not yet been realized apart from a preliminary 3D printed version, though a novel design is proposed, employing a variable stiffness actuator in order to gain control over the contact force distribution.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:53 electrotechnology
Programme:Electrical Engineering BSc (56953)
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