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Rapid trajectory generation for quadrocopters

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Published on Oct 31, 2013

We have developed a method for rapidly generating and evaluating quadrocopter interception trajectories. Each trajectory goes from an arbitrary initial state (position, velocity and acceleration) to an arbitrary final state. The evaluation of the trajectory includes determining input feasibility, and state feasibility (e.g. that the position of the quadrocopter remains inside a box). Per trajectory, this requires less than two microseconds on a modern laptop computer.

The trajectory generator is used here to generate trajectories to hit a ball towards a target, and allows to search over
- when to hit the ball
- how high to return the ball
- how much thrust to use at the end of the trajectory.

The trajectory generator is used in a receding horizon implementation, where the optimization is run in closed loop at 50Hz, and only the first part of the trajectory is used as inputs. This allows the system to cope with sensor noise, and deviations in the ball's flight path.

The trajectory generation scheme is described in more detail in the paper "A computationally efficient algorithm for state-to-state quadrocopter trajectory generation and feasibility verification", presented at IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Tokyo, 2013. The paper will be made available at http://www.idsc.ethz.ch/people/staff/....

This work builds on previous results, specifically also on those shown in this video: http://youtu.be/3CR5y8qZf0Y

Researchers:
Mark W. Mueller, Markus Hehn, and Raffaello D'Andrea

Location:
Flying Machine Arena at ETH Zurich

Acknowledgements
This work is supported by and builds upon prior contributions by numerous collaborators in the Flying Machine Arena project. See http://www.flyingmachinearena.org/people .
This work was supported by the SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation).

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