Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Wei Ren


This paper presents an implementation of autonomous indoor aerial gripping using a low-cost, custom-built quadrotor. Such research extends the typical functionality of micro air vehicles (MAV) from passive observation and sensing to dynamic interaction with the environment. To achieve this, three major challenges are overcome: precise positioning, sensing and manipulation of the object, and stabilization in the presence of disturbance due to interaction with the object. Navigation in both indoor and outdoor unstructured, Global Positioning System-denied (GPS-denied) environments is achieved using a visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) algorithm that relies on an onboard monocular camera. A secondary camera, capable of detecting infrared light sources, is used to estimate the 3D location of the object, while an under-actuated and passively compliant manipulator is designed for effective gripping under uncertainty. The system utilizes nested ProportionalIntegral-Derivative (PID) controllers for attitude stabilization, vision-based navigation, and gripping. The quadrotor is therefore able to autonomously navigate, locate, and grasp an object, using only onboard sensors.


This work was made publicly available electronically on September 29, 2011.