Robots: Distributed Flight Array

Posted 16 Aug 2010 at 16:51 UTC (updated 16 Aug 2010 at 16:54 UTC) by mwaibel Share This

Autonomous distributed modular flying robot at the IDSC at ETH

In its latest episode, the Robots Podcast interviews the lead researcher of the Distributed Flight Array and one of my colleagues at the ETH Zurich's IDSC, Raymond Oung. The Distributed Flight Array (DFA) is an aerial modular robot. Each individual module has a single, large propellor and a set of omniwheels to move around. Since a single propellor does not allow stable flight, modules move around to connect to each other. As shown in this video of the DFA, the resulting random shape then takes flight. After a few minutes of hovering the structure breaks up and modules fall back to the ground, restarting the cycle. As most projects at the IDSC, the DFA is grounded in rigorous mathematics and design principles and combines multiple goals: It serves as a real-world testbed for research in distributed estimation and control, it abstracts many of the real-world issues of the next generation of distributed multi-agent systems, and it provides an illustration for otherwise abstract concepts like distributed sensing and control to a general public. For more information on current work, future plans and real-world applications, read on or tune in!

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