Researchers at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich developed the “Fetching Omnicopter”, that is able to fly in any orientation. This is thanks to the rotors that are positioned at different angles. To demonstrate the potential of the design, a prototype has shown off its catching ability. The rotor layout required the development of a trajectory generator algorithm for precise control of the drone that is computationally efficient. The algorithm is able to generate around 500,000 trajectories per second that guide the drone from its initial position to the desired end position in a given time. To demonstrate the capabilities of the system, the team attached an arm with a small net at the end to the drone and played a game of catch. The results can be seen in the video below, with the algorithm predicting the trajectory of the ball. It then calculates various paths that can be taken to catch the ball in the net and selects the smoothest one that is followed in 20 milliseconds.
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