The goal of the AIRobots project is to develop a new generation of aerial service robots capable to support human beings in all those activities that require the ability to interact actively and safely with environments not constrained on ground but airborne.

Advanced automatic control algorithms will be conceived to govern the aerial platform, which will be remotely supervised by the operator with the use of haptic devices. Particular emphasis will be given to develop advanced human-in-the-loop and autonomous navigation control strategies relying upon a cooperative and adaptive interaction between the on-board automatic control and the remote operator. Force and visual feedback strategies will be investigated in order to transform the aerial platform in a flying hand suitable for a large variety of applications, such as inspection, sample picking, aerial remote manipulation.

Results 2010-2013

Inspection Manipulator: An manipulation system for aerial inspection has been designed and realized. The design consists of three main parts: the robotic arm, realized by means of a Delta kinematic structure, the wrist, which allows for the adaptation and absorptions of shocks in case of impacts, and the end-effector, i.e., a NDT module or an under-actuated gripper. 

Aerial manipulation: Control strategies have been designed and implemented on the aerial manipulator in interaction with the environment by means of the manipulation system. In the first approach, the goal is to show that the manipulation system, mounting the NTD module, can track a desired force, normal to a vertical wall, while still maintaining the possibility of moving on the wall. In the second approach, the goal is to show that the manipulation system, mounting the under-actuated gripper, can realize aerial grasping, i.e., approach a vertical wall, dock on an object (attached to the wall) by means of the gripper, take the object and fly away.

Teleoperation: The haptic tele-manipulation of under-actuated unmanned aerial vehicles has been addressed by using the multidimensional virtual slave concept. The control architecture is composed of high-level and low-level controllers. The high-level controller commands the vehicle to accomplish specific tasks and renders both the state and the environment of the vehicle to the operator through haptic feedback. The low-level controller interprets the command signals from the operator, regulates the dynamics of the vehicle and feeds back its state to the high-level loop. The passivity of the tele-manipulation loop is always ensured independently of the choice of implementation of the low-level controller and the configuration of the flying hardware by a passivity-enforcing supervisor, which associates every action of the slave with an energy expense that can only be made available from a multi-state energy tank. 

Project lead

no picture available
dr. Raffaella Carloni


no picture available Stefano Stramigioli