This paper presents the design and testing of systems for autonomous tracking, payload pickup, and deployment of cargo via a UAV helicopter. The tracking system uses a visual servoing algorithm and is tested using open loop velocity control of a 3DOF gantry system with a camera mounted via a pan-tilt unit on the end effecter. The pickup system uses vision to control the camera pan tilt unit as well as a second pan tilt unit with a hook mounted on the end of the arm. The ability of the pickup system to hook a target is tested by mounting it on the gantry while recorded helicopter velocities are played back by the gantry. A preliminary semi-autonomous deployment system is field tested, where a manually controlled RC truck is transported by a UAV helicopter under computer control that is manually directed to GPS waypoints using a ground station.

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