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Title: Combined Docking-and-Recharging for a Flexible Aerial / Legged Marsupial Autonomous System
In this work we address the flexible physical docking-and-release as well as recharging needs for a marsupial system comprising an autonomous tiltrotor hybrid Micro Aerial Vehicle and a high-end legged locomotion robot. Within persistent monitoring and emergency response situations, such aerial / ground robot teams can offer rapid situational awareness by taking off from the mobile ground robot and scouting a wide area from the sky. For this type of operational profile to retain its long-term effectiveness, regrouping via landing and docking of the aerial robot onboard the ground one is a key requirement. Moreover, onboard recharging is a necessity in order to perform systematic missions. We present a framework comprising: a novel landing mechanism with recharging capabilities embedded into its design, an external battery-based recharging extension for our previously developed power-harvesting Micro Aerial Vehicle module, as well as a strategy for the reliable landing and the docking-and-release between the two robots. We specifically address the need for this system to be ferried by a quadruped ground system while remaining reliable during aggressive legged locomotion when traversing harsh terrain. We present conclusive experimental validation studies by deploying our solution on a marsupial system comprising the MiniHawk micro tiltrotor and the Boston Dynamics Spot legged robot.  more » « less
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
2023 IEEE Aerospace Conference
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 9
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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