Load Transportation by Means of Autonomous Helicopters



 

Load transportation executed by one
and three autonomous
helicopters

In manned aviation, helicopters have been used for load transportation for many decades. But the relative small payload of one particular helicopter limits the number of possible applications. The system, which was developed in cooperation with TU Berlin, allows load transportation tasks to be executed by multiple helicopters. The number of helicopters is variable and depends on the mass of the load. The developed algorithms and approaches have been successfully tested using small-size helicopters with a rotor diameter of 2 m in different flight experiments. The developed software makes it possible to use the system composed of three autonomous helicopters for installation and repair of sensor networks in areas which are difficult to access and/or which are dangerous. The next step could be the automation of the control of load transportation tasks for full-scale helicopters.

The following video shows the transportation and installation of a sensor node on the roof of a house with a simulated fire. All helicopters are flying fully autonomously. The developed control system allows the usage of up to four helicopters. The weight of the sensor node was 5 kg and the payload of each helicopter about 2 kg. The task was performed at a wind speed of approx. 35 km/h.


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