Autonomous Quadrocopter

The autonomous quadrocopter is a type of unmanned aerial vehicle being designed by the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Laboratory.  They’ve released some video of the ‘copter going through its paces.

The video below the jump is not of somebody piloting an odd helicopter through openings that are only 3 inches larger than its body. No.  It’s a video of a helicopter piloting itself through openings that are only 3 inches larger than its body.

Aggressive Maneuvers for Autonomous Quadrotor Flight

In the video the quadrocopter knows its position, and the position of the openings via its internal IMU and a sophisticated motion capture system - the red lights and cameras (20 of them!) around the room. The video opens with the robot performing single, double, and triple flips in mid air! If that's not stunning enough, the next part shows how the robot can fly through any position in space with any reasonable "velocity and pitch angle", allowing it to fly through a window with less than 3 inches of clearance (~8 cm). It can also be used to decend through a hole, or fly between other quadrocopters in space.

Finally, the video shows the copter perching on a vertical surface via velcro. It can even land upsidedown! You must watch the video, as it's pretty stunning.

The work is done by Daniel Mellinger, Dr. Nathan Michael, and Dr. Vijay Kumar.


Micro Autonomous Systems Technologies (MAST) is a collaboration with University of Maryland, University of Michigan, BAE Systems and Army Research Laboratories. Our vision is to develop Autonomous Multifunctional Mobile Microsystems (Am3 ), a networked group of small vehicles and sensors operating in dynamic, resource-constrained, adversarial environments. [...]

Autonomous Quadrocopter | U Penn GRASP Lab | Geekosystem
YouTube - Aggressive Maneuvers for Autonomous Quadrotor Flight
Quadrocopter Flies Through Windows, Does Backflips, and Lands Upside Down! by gallamine | RobotBox
Research Projects | GRASP Laboratory - University Of Pennsylvania
Daniel Mellinger Website | Main / Quadrotor

Quadrotor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Autonomous quadrocopter flies through windows, straight into our hearts (video) -- Engadget
YouTube - Indoor flight of an autonomous vision-guided quadrotor
Aggressive Quadrotor Maneuvers - DIY Drones
Make: Online : How-To: Quadrocopter based on Arduino
MAST - Micro Autonomous System Technologies | GRASP Laboratory - University Of Pennsylvania