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Flying robots have unique advantages in the exploration of cluttered environments such as caves or collapsed buildings. Current systems, however, have difficulty in dealing with the large amount of obstacles inherent to such environments. Collisions with obstacles generally result in crashes from which the platform can no longer recover. This paper presents a method to design active uprighting mechanisms for protected rotorcraft-type flying robots that allow them to become upright and subsequently take off again after an otherwise mission-ending collision. This method is demonstrated on a tailsitter flying robot, which is capable of consistently uprighting after falling on its side using a spring-based “leg” and returning to the air to continue its mission.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2012