University of Twente Student Theses


Control of quadcopters for collaborative interaction

Trouwborst, Cees (2014) Control of quadcopters for collaborative interaction.

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Abstract:Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have the potential to perform tasks that are normally dangerous or costly to be performed by humans. In this bachelor thesis the Parrot AR.Drone was analysed and utilised for performing a collaborative task containing interaction with the environment: moving a mass using a set of quadcopters. The Parrot AR.Drone is a commercially available quadcopter, intended for recreational use. Control of the quadcopter is normally done through a smartphone or tablet. In this project, the Robot Operating System was used as a framework to implement new functionality. As a starting point multiple ways of teleoperation were implemented, enabling the user to directly send velocity commands to the quadcopters. Then, setpoint control was implemented making use of the position feedback of the Natural Point OptiTrack system. The performance of the controller was adequate for the position of one quadcopter. When flying multiple quadcopters indoors at the same time the negative effects of the additional airflow could clearly be seen, resulting in larger deviations fromthe setpoint. The influence of the size of the roomwas another observation made related to aerodynamics. This controller architecture was used to explore the possibilities of the Parrot AR.Drone to perform interactive tasks in a collaborative way. The scenario of two quadcopters transporting a mass was chosen for experiments. Semi-automated picking up and moving of a mass connected through cables was successfully performed at the end of the project. The internal integrating action of the Parrot AR.Drone rendered it unnecessary to implement additional controller actions. It can be concluded that the Parrot AR.Drone is an easy to use and widely available research platform. Since the internal control software is not open and not fully documented, the platform is not useful for all research questions regarding quadcopters. As example: connecting two quadcopters through a rotational joint was not possible because unpredictable internal logic. Multiple executables have been developed during this project. Two of the most important applications (the controller and an application automating the connection sequence) feature a graphical user interface to enable intuitive control. These applications are connected in a modular way, so that other UAVs or position feedback systems can easily be implemented.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:53 electrotechnology
Programme:Electrical Engineering MSc (60353)
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