Multivehicle Systems

Development of new technologies for the coordination and cooperation in multivehicle systems

Multivehicle systems laboratory develops new technologies for the coordination and cooperation in multivehicle systems.

The laboratory uses an indoor multivehicle testbed that includes an indoor positioning system with submilimeter-level accuracy and a high rate of up to 500 Hz. The latency of the system is in the order of 2-3 miliseconds allowing its use in real-time applications. The testbed encompasses a volume of 15x15x5 m allowing the flight of many air vehicles simultaneously. This testbed has been provided by the company VICON.

In addition, 15 quadrotors of different sizes and payload capacities from 200 g to 2 kg are available. The autonomy (i.e. mean maximum flight time) of these platforms is about 20 minutes. All these platforms, but those with very small sizes, flight autonomously using the autopilot developed by CATEC. The testbed and these vehicles are used to emulate air traffic scenarios to test new ATM algorithms, among other uses.

The multivehicle systems laboratory develops technologies in the fields of: aerial manipulation with onboard robotics arms, air traffic automation, multivehicle trajectories generation, task-based aircraft guidance, distributive and dynamic task allocation and cooperation between aerial and on-ground vehicles.

The quadrotors flight control has been developed using a model-based methodology that allows the fast integration of control code and the ability of changing parameters while the code is running. This methodology also allows the logging of telemetry that can be seen in real-time while the code is running. A simulation environment is used to test the algorithms before they are run on a real air vehicle. All these features easies the development and debugging tasks.

For multivehicle control an architecture based on ROS (Robot Operating System) is used. ROS also provides a simulation environment that can be used to test the high-level algorithms used to control multiple vehicles.


Quadrotor flying in the testbed

View of the indoor testbed

Two of the quadrotors available at CATEC