OmniRotor Platform Videos
On Dexterous Aerial and Ground Manipulation with a Hybrid UAV/UGV OmniRotor Platform and a Fast, Soft, Kirigami Gripper
Aerial grasping has many applications in the fields of search-and-rescue, maintenance, inspection, and the delivery industry. However, there are still many limitations to be overcome, including better and more lightweight gripper solutions, and more efficient payload transportation methods. Soft grippers offer the advantage of being lightweight, compliant, suitable for delicate objects, and requiring simple control. While soft robotic grippers have been explored for aerial grasping, the combination of fast grasping and soft grippers has not been demonstrated. Moreover, multi-modality for aerial grasping is under-explored in the literature. This paper presents a novel approach to aerial grasping using a kirigami-based ultra-lightweight soft gripper with a fast actuation system and a hybrid, multi-modal OmniRotor vehicle. A platform belonging to the OmniRotor class, is a hybrid, multimodal vehicle that combines the advantages of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV), being capable of continuous omnidirectional thrust vectoring and with both aerial and ground manipulation capabilities. This work demonstrates how kirigami grippers can be used for aerial grasping, proposes the design of a spring-loaded, fast-release, lightweight actuation mechanism for the kirigami gripper, and demonstrates how an OmniRotor platform can be used for efficient, single-platform aerial and ground manipulation in a construction environment. The contributions of this work can help overcome the limitations of aerial grasping and enable efficient multi-modal manipulation with unmanned vehicles.
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.