Aerial Manipulation

September 2019

Submitted to ICRA 2020 (under review)
Jake Welde and Vijay Kumar




In this work, we derive a coordinate-free formulation of the coupled dynamics of a class of 6DOF aerial manipulators consisting of an underactuated quadrotor equipped with a 2DOF articulated manipulator, and demonstrate that the system is differentially flat with respect to the end effector pose. In particular, we require the center of mass of the entire system to be fixed in the end effector frame, which can be interpreted as a physically realizable design criterion. We make use of an inertial decoupling transformation to demonstrate differential flatness, allowing us to plan dynamically feasable trajectories for the system in the space of the 6DOF pose of the end effector, which is ideal for achieving precise manipulator tasks. Simulation results validate the flatness-based planning methodology for the dynamic model derived, and its usefulness is demonstrated in a simulated aerial videography task.


A poster on this topic was presented at NERC 2019.