Aerial Manipulator For Unmanned Helicopters
Aerial Manipulator grabs objects while unmanned helicopter hovers…
In a project funded by the Office of Naval Research, Yale’s Grab Lab team has developed a hand-like grasping module that can be fitted to the underside of a UAV. The platform known as the Aerial Manipulator can grasp and pick up objects without requiring the aircraft to land.
Of course, the very nature of grabbing and lifting only lends itself to aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities (VTOL), namely small rotary-wing aircraft or helicopters. But when it comes to carrying payloads, there are many factors such
as uneven weight distribution and weather, which can make these aircraft unstable.
To counter this unpredictability, engineers developed the Aerial Manipulator with one motor that simultaneously controls all four of fingers. The hand is adaptive and the fingers are made from a soft flexible polymer to absorb forces that may otherwise transfer to the airframe.
The Aerial Manipulator can lift up to 4.5 pounds and can travel at 87mph (130kmph). The aircraft is also equipped with an array of optical sensors including an inertial measurement sensor, a height-above-ground sensor and a camera.
With companies like Boeing and Raytheon recently unveiling unmanned helicopters primarily designed for reconnaissance and supply missions, the Aerial Manipulator could be a great tool in increase the functionality of unmanned helicopters.
- Unavailable, please contact us for more information.