In a video that similar to those videos where humans push around ATLAS, researchers at Delft University of Technology have created a system that will let a quadrotor drone keep flying even if one of the propellers is broken.
The video above – which is, arguably, pretty boring – shows the drone fighting against both structural damage and wind and most definitely winning. The fact that it is able to stay airborne under such wild conditions is the real draw here and it’s a fascinating experiment in robust robotics. In other words, this drone routed around damage that would destroy a normal quadcopter.
According to IEEE the system works by adding a multiple subsystems to the drone in order to manage the position and altitude. The system uses the built-in gyro and accelerometer readings to keep itself in the air and lots of processing power to keep it moving forward even as it seems to careen into the wild blue yonder. Further, the system manages motor power to ensure that the propellers aren’t “saturated.”
The researchers, Sihao Sun, Leon Sijbers, Xuerui Wang, and Coen de Visser, presented their paper in Spain last week at IROS 2018.