Reconfigurable Drones for Aerial Grasping and Package Delivery
Categories for this invention
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
A GRASPING APPARATUS AND A VEHICLE INCLUDING A GRASPING APPARATUS
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An innovative approach to payload drone design, which incorporates the grasping assembly into the drone chassis - reducing total system weight and complexity while increasing grasping capabilities.
Typically, aerial grasping platforms use drones that have either a robot hand or a robot grasping attached. The majority of robot hands or robotic grasping structures can be quite heavy (for example some can weigh more than 500g). Most drones have a limited payload i.e. have a weight constraint associated with the drone. Moreover, as the payload and weight of the drone increases the maximum flight time and the autonomy of the drone decreases thereby limiting the usability of the drone.
Another important specification for aerial grasping platforms is to be capable to grasp objects, even under significant object position uncertainties. This is particularly useful for drones, as they cannot be controlled accurately and the presence of external disturbances (e.g., wind) makes the problems of approaching the object and securing a grasp, extremely difficult.
In order for drones to deliver packages they must have a gripping system attached to the drone chassis which interacts with and securely grasps packages.
New Dexterity research Labs are leaders in the development of lightweight, robust and reliable robotic gripping solutions. Leveraging this knowledge, the New Dexterity team have developed of a new class of package delivery drones which incorporate the grasping assembly within the drone chassis.
The most important factor that affects the weight of grasping assemblies is the number of motors used. To further reduce the weight of the system, the new class of drones utilises the concept of under-actuation (less motors than the available degrees of freedom). The reduction in the number of actuators is compensated by passive compliant elements that constrain the motion of the system, which also adds adaptive grasping capabilities, allowing the drone to conform to the shape of objects and grasp them securely.