Tutorial on Aerial Robotic Manipulation


Fr-TUT-1 - Full day tutorial
Tutorial Date: October 5, 2018
Venue: Room 1.R4, Madrid Municipal Conference Centre, Madrid, Spain


Guillermo Heredia
Robotics, Vision and Control group (GRVC)
University of Seville, Spain


This tutorial provides an introduction to the theory and practice of aerial manipulation. Aerial manipulators are aerial robots with attached mechatronic devices as robotic arms or grippers, which are able to grasp, transport, position and manipulate objects and apply forces to the environment. The design, control and sensing of aerial manipulators present differences and challenges with respect to aerial robots that are the focus of this tutorial.

The mechatronic design of aerial manipulators is severely limited by the payload of the aerial platform.  Installing arms with several DOFs involves the use of compact actuators, which also constraint the payload of the arm itself and its capacity to apply forces. Then, aerial manipulator controllers have to deal with the dynamic coupling of the movement of the arms, the disturbances of the contact forces and the weight of grasped objects. Additionally to the usual sensors in aerial robots, proprioceptive sensing of the state of the arms and mechanical devices is important for controller development. As aerial manipulators fly and interact closely with the environment, perception for estimation of relative pose with respect to the objects and the environment is critical. Motion planning and reactive replanning in aerial manipulators is also necessary to deal with their safe operation close to obstacles in partially unknown environments.

This tutorial aims at addressing all these issues from a practical point of view, introducing the different problems and presenting solutions that have been tested in practice in different applications. The design of aerial manipulators will be illustrated and demonstrated with a prototype of a dual arm aerial manipulator.

Topics of interest

  • Mechatronic design of aerial manipulators
  • Control of aerial manipulators
  • Control of aerial robots in contact with the environment
  • Perception in aerial manipulation


Time Tutorial Session Comments
9:00 - 9:15 Welcome Guillermo Heredia
9:15 - 9:45 Introduction to Aerial Manipulation Anibal Ollero
9:45 – 10:20 Applications Dongjun Lee
10:20 – 11:00 Mechatronic design Matko Orsag
11:00 – 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 – 12:00 Practical case: Design of a dual arm aerial manipulator Alejandro Suarez
With dual arm aerial manipulator hardware showcase and demonstration
12:00 – 12:40 Modeling and control of aerial manipulators Guillermo Heredia
12:40 – 13:30 Hands-on session 1: modeling of aerial manipulators Antonio Jimenez-Cano, Alejandro Suarez
13:30 – 14:30 Lunch
14:30 – 15:10 Interaction control in aerial manipulation Antonio Franchi
15:10 – 15:50 Perception in aerial manipulation Justin Thomas
15:50 – 16:30 Hands-on session: control of aerial manipulators Antonio Jimenez-Cano, Alejandro Suarez
16:30 – 17:00 Coffee break
17:00 – 18:00 Hands-on session: control of aerial manipulators Antonio Jimenez-Cano, Alejandro Suarez
18:00 Closing discussion All


Equipment to bring

Each participant should bring a laptop computer with Matlab/Simulink installed to attend this tutorial. A library of Matlab/Simulink models for the hands-on sessions will be provided by the organizers.


This tutorial is supported by:
1) IEEE RAS TC for Aerial Robotics and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
2) Sociedad Española para la Investigación y Desarrollo en Robótica, SEIDROB.
3) The AEROCROS project, funded by the Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad and the EU, and the EU H2020 projects AEROARMS, AEROBI, HYFLIERS and RESIST.


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