The main objective of the project is the design and development of the first flying multi-robot.

The ARCAS robotic system will involve transportation of parts by means of one and several (joint transportation) flying robots, and the precise placement and assembly of the parts with appropriate manipulation devices to build a structure or to assembly an object. The project will use experimental testbeds for the validation of concepts and algorithms in practical applications.

The detailed scientific and technological objectives of ARCAS are:

  • Motion control. The development of new techniques and methodologies for motion control of a free-flying robot with a mounted manipulator in contact with a grasped object as well as for coordinated control of multiple cooperating flying robots with manipulators in contact with the same object

  • Perception. Development of new perception techniques to model, identify and recognize the scenario and for use in guidance in the assembly operations by means of flying robots.

  • Cooperative assembly planning. New methods will be developed for cooperative assembly by means of multiple flying robots with application to the assembly of objects, and to perform inspection and maintenance activities in sites that are very difficult to access from the ground.

  • Operator assistance. Strategies will de developed for operator assistance in manipulation tasks involving multiple cooperating flying robots. The goal is to identify the appropriate way to provide information concerning the system state to the operator and for his/her interaction with the automatic control system by using a previously developed VR-haptic system.

Integration of the above methods and technologies in a robotic system will be carried out.

Validation of the robotic system will be carried out in the following scenarios:

  • Preliminary experimentation scenario consisting of an indoor testbed with 10 autonomous quadrotors and the VICON system for positioning.
  • Advanced experimentation outdoor scenario with two or three autonomous helicopters.
  • Advanced free-flying simulation scenario using experimental setup based on multiple robot arms to emulate the dynamics of the free-flying objects manipulating objects.