The New Dexterity OmniRotor
All Terrain Platform
Mobile and aerial robots offer many potential applications in society, including warehouse logistics, surveillance, cinematography, and search and rescue, among others. However, most such robots are task-specific and generally lack the versatility required to tackle multiple types of scenarios, terrains, and unstructured, dynamic environments. In this paper, we present the OmniRotor platform, a versatile, multi-modal, coaxial, tilt-rotor, all-terrain vehicle that combines an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) into a hybrid, all-terrain vehicle. The OmniRotor has two locomotion modes of operation (aerial and ground vehicle) and five operation configurations, as it can fly both in the normal and inverted configurations, it can drive on the ground both in the normal and inverted configurations, and it can recover from any non-operational state to its normal, upside-down configuration. Moreover, in addition to the locomotion modes, the continuous omnidirectional thrust vectoring enables the OmniRotor platform to perform complex manipulation of objects. This work introduces the concept and discusses in detail the design, development, and experimental validation of the OmniRotor platform. In particular, it discusses the modeling and control schemes required by the different operation modes and configurations, and it experimentally validates the performance of the platform with experiments focusing on traversing challenging environments and unstructured, uneven terrains (e.g., a public park). Finally, the ground, pushing-based manipulation capabilities of the platform are demonstrated through the execution of a puzzle-solving experiment where the solved puzzle serves also as a landing platform for the all-terrain vehicle. The versatility of OmniRotor offers exciting prospects for use in challenging search-and-rescue scenarios, surveillance, and aerial and ground manipulation applications.
A Video of Version 1 of the OmniRotor Platform