Design, Control and Visual Navigation of the DelftaCopter


To participate in the Outback Medical Express UAV Challenge 2016, a vehicle was designed and tested that can hover precisely, takeoff and land vertically, fly fast forward efficiently and use computer vision to locate a person and a suitable landing location. A rotor blade was designed that can deliver sufficient thrust in hover, while still being efficient in fast forward flight. Energy measurements and windtunnel tests were performed. A rotor-head and corresponding control algorithms were developed to allow transitioning flight with the non-conventional rotor dynamics. Dedicated electronics were designed that meet vehicle needs and regulations to allow safe flight beyond visual line of sight. Vision based search and guidance algorithms were developed and tested. Flight tests and a competition participation illustrate the applicability of the DelftaCopter concept. Nomenclature CASA = Civil Aviation Safety Authority IMU = Inertial Measurement Unit GPS = Global Positioning System UAV = Unmanned Air Vehicle VTOL = Vetical Take-Off and Landing ∗Email address:, Micro Air Vehicle Lab, Kluyverweg 1, 2629HS Delft, the Netherlands. †Email address: ‡Email address: §Email address: 1 ar X iv :1 70 1. 00 86 0v 1 [ cs .R O ] 3 J an 2 01 7

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@article{Wagter2017DesignCA, title={Design, Control and Visual Navigation of the DelftaCopter}, author={C. De Wagter and Rick Ruijsink and Ewoud Smeur and Kevin van Hecke and Freek van Tienen and Erik van der Horst and B. D. W. Remes}, journal={CoRR}, year={2017}, volume={abs/1701.00860} }