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N . E . W . S

Successful AWARE experiments 2008.
See the video on the AWARE hompage.
Worldwide first load transportation using three coupled helicopters.
Watch the video.
Download HQ video.
First successful autonomous load transportation.
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Download HQ video.

Laboratory for autonomous flying robots

Image showing the team of the laboratory

From autonomous flying to applications


In our lab, we are working on different subjects connected with practical applications of autonomous aerial robots with a certain level of on-board intelligence.

The main research areas are:
  • mathematical modeling of small scale aerial robots
  • control of small scale aerial robots
  • sensors and sensor data processing for autonomous navigation
  • collision detection/avoidance for small scale aerial robots
  • control of multiple coupled helicopters
  • distributed real-time systems
The main applications are:

  • load transport with multiple helicopters
  • deployment of sensor networks using small scale aerial robots
  • monitoring and observation
For outdoor operation, we use the following aerial robots:

  • Three helicopters H-3 (rotor diameter 2 m, total mass 12-16 kg)
  • Plane H-P1 (wingspan 2.5 m,  total mass 15 kg) (under construction)
  • Quad-rotor H-Q1 (edge length 1 m, total mass 15 kg) (under construction)
The autonomous navigation of all our flying robots is performed by the modular control system which was designed and implemented in our lab. This control system can be used to operate different types of flying robots: helicopters, quad-rotors and planes. The modular control system is composed of hardware for autonomous navigation, real-time software for control and communication as well as of mission software. The control system can be configured for different types of sensors (e.g. low cost and high-end navigation sensors) and actuators used on the robot. Operation of multiple robots is also supported.

To study some issues related to modeling and control we developed a laboratory setup for aerial robots. This setup allows performing real flight experiments with VTOL-robots under deterministic conditions with low effort and costs. This setup is composed of optical system to track the position and orientation of robots and software framework for implementing control algorithms and monitoring of all system data (this software is also a part of modular control system for outdoor robots).

Up to four different VTOL-robots can be used with this setup at the same time. At the moment, the following robots are used:

  • Electrical helicopter (rotor diameter 1.1 m, total mass 5 kg)
  • Electrical quad-rotor (edge length 0.7 m, total mass 4.8 kg) 
We participate with our autonomous helicopters in the European Union project AWARE.


    2008 by Laboratory for autonomous flying robots • kondak@cs.tu-berlin.de