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ISLANDS: A Self-Leveling Landing Platform for Autonomous Miniature UAVs

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM), Budapest, Hungary (2011)


The Intelligent Self-Leveling and Nodal Docking
System (ISLANDS) is a mobile recharging/refueling station
designed and built to enhance endurance and range of small scale,
autonomous, unmanned helicopters, which are becoming
increasingly popular for a wide range of non-military applications
such as, surveillance, reconnaissance, traffic monitoring,
emergency response, agricultural spraying, and many other
“eye in the sky” missions. The primary function of ISLANDS
is to provide a safe, level landing platform for such helicopters.
Additionally, in order to provide the maximum benefit in terms
of increased range and flight-time, ISLANDS must be strategically
located in the work field of the helicopter. In this paper,
we discuss both the design of the individual ISLANDS “node,”
and the use of ISLANDS within a larger systems context. At
the node level, the mechanical subsystems implementing these
ISLANDS are described. At the system level, we report on
initial results tackling the ISLANDS placement problem with
a genetic search algorithm. In combination, these contributions
provide a complete solution to enable longer and more complex
missions for small autonomous helicopters.