Manipulating objects using arms mounted to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is attractive because UAVs may access many locations that are otherwise inaccessible to traditional mobile manipulation platforms such as ground vehicles.
However, the constantly moving UAV platform and compliance of manipulator arms make it difficult to position the UAV and end-effector relative to an object of interest precisely enough for reliable manipulation. Solving this challenge will bring UAVs one step closer to being able to perform meaningful tasks such as infrastructure repair, disaster response, law enforcement, and personal assistance.
Toward a solution to this challenge, this paper describes an approach to coordinate the redundant degrees of freedom of a six degree of freedom gantry with those of a six degree of freedom manipulator arm. The manipulator’s degrees of freedom are visually servoed to a specified pose relative to a target while treating motions of the host platform as perturbations. Simultaneously, the host platform’s degrees of freedom are servoed using kinematic information from the manipulator. This drives the base of the manipulator to a position that allows it to assume a joint-space configuration that maximizes reachability while minimizing static torque transmitted from the arm to the host.