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A fully actuated aerial manipulator system for industrial contact inspection applications

Shuang Hao (State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China)
Guangming Song (State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China)
Juzheng Mao (State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China)
Yue Gu (State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China)
Aiguo Song (State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 7 December 2022

63

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a fully actuated aerial manipulator (AM) with a robust motion/force hybrid controller for conducting contact-typed inspection tasks in industrial plants.

Design/methodology/approach

An AM is designed based on a hexarotor with tilted rotors and a rigidly attached end effector. By tilting the rotors, the position and attitude of the AM can be controlled independently, and the AM can actively exert forces on industrial facilities through the rigidly attached end effector. A motion/force hybrid controller is proposed to perform contact-typed inspection tasks. The contact-typed inspection task is divided into the approach phase and the contact phase. In the approach phase, the AM automatically approaches the contact surface. In the contact phase, a motion/force hybrid controller is used for contact-typed inspection. Finally, a disturbance observer (DOB) is used to estimate external disturbances and used as feedforward compensation.

Findings

The proposed AM can slowly approach the contact surface without significant impact in the contact phase. It can realize constant force control in the direction normal to the contact surface in the contact phase, whereas the motion of the remaining directions can be controlled by the operator. The use of the DOB ensures the robustness of the AM in the presence of external wind disturbances.

Originality/value

A fully actuated AM system with a robust motion/force hybrid controller is proposed. The effectiveness of the proposed AM system for conducting contact-typed industrial inspection tasks is validated by practical experiments.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research reported in this paper was carried out at the State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Instrument Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. The authors thank all the members of the lab for their great support. This work is supported by Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant # 61973076 and Grant #52127813.

Citation

Hao, S., Song, G., Mao, J., Gu, Y. and Song, A. (2022), "A fully actuated aerial manipulator system for industrial contact inspection applications", Industrial Robot, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-07-2022-0184

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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