SUBJECT: M.S. Thesis Presentation
BY: John Papayanopoulos
TIME: Friday, December 1, 2017, 10:30 a.m.
PLACE: Love Building, 109
TITLE: Autonomous UAV Precision Item Pickup
COMMITTEE: Dr. Jonathan Rogers, Chair (ME)
Dr. Aldo Ferri (ME)
Dr. Kathryn Wingate (ME)


In recent years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly useful in a wide range of applications such as surveying, package delivery, and recreation. An emerging research area is that of autonomous precision landing for package pickup and return to base procedures. The motivation behind this project is to create a modular UAV dock and attachment system that can be attached to a payload or docking location. It should also be possible for this modular design to allow multiple attachment points for cooperative package pickup.

This project develops technologies and techniques to allow a single rotary winged unmanned aerial vehicle to locate and retrieve a payload on the ground. The contributions of this thesis include an autonomous control algorithm for precision docking and a mechanical design of a modular docking mechanism. The control algorithm implemented uses a vision based infrared beacon-camera pair for terminal guidance feedback. Both the control algorithm and the docking mechanism are implemented using a prototype quadrotor platform. Included is a detailed description of the control algorithm, mechanical design of the docking mechanism, prototype implementation and flight test results. The results of this work show the methods suggested are reliable and may be useful in a variety of applications in which UAVs retrieve supplies or personnel for subsequent transport.