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Quadrocopter failsafe algorithm: recovery after propeller loss

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Published on Dec 2, 2013

Quadrocopter failsafe algorithm -- Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control (IDSC), ETH Zurich, Switzerland - http://www.idsc.ethz.ch/

== UPDATE ==
Please see this video (http://youtu.be/ek0FrCaogcs) for a demonstration of the flight algorithm without the motion capture system.

The video shows an automatic failsafe algorithm that allows a quadrocopter to gracefully cope with the loss of a propeller. The propeller was mounted without a nut, and thus eventually vibrates itself loose.

The failure is detected automatically by the system, after which the vehicle recovers and returns to its original position. The vehicle finally executes a controlled, soft landing, on a user's command.

The failsafe controller uses only hardware that is readily available on a standard quadrocopter, and could thus be implemented as an algorithmic-only upgrade to existing systems. Until now, the only way a multicopter could survive the loss of a propeller (or motor), is by having redundancy (e.g. hexacopters, octocopters). However, this redundancy comes at the cost of additional structural weight, reducing the vehicle's useful payload. Using this technology, (more efficient) quadrocopters can be used in safety critical applications, because they still have the ability to gracefully recover from a motor/propeller failure.

This control approach can also be applied to design novel flying vehicles, the results of which will be posted soon.

This technology is patent pending.

For more information, please see www.FlyingMachineArena.org

Researchers:
Mark W. Mueller and Raffaello D'Andrea

Video:
Mark W. Mueller, Markus Waibel, Max Kriegleder, 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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