Authors -  F. Cocchioni, V. Pierfelice, A. Benini, A. Mancini, E. Frontoni, P. Zingaretti, G. Ippoliti, S. Longhi

Abstract - The capability to instantiate a cooperation among heterogeneous agents is a fundamental feature in mobile robotics. In this paper we focus on the interaction between Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to extend the endurance of UAV, thanks to a novel landing/recharging platform.

The UGV acts as a docking station and hosts the UAV during the indoor/outdoor transition and vice-versa. We designed a platform and a robust landing target to automate the fast recharge of UAV. The synchronization and coordination of cooperation is managed by a Ground Control Station (GCS) developed using a versatile software toolchain based on the integration of Stateflow, auto-generation of C-code and ROS. All the software components of UAV, UGV and GCS have been developed using ROS. The obtained results show that the UAV is able to land over the UGV with high accuracy (<5cm for both x and y axis) thanks to a visual position estimation algorithm, also in presence of wind (with gust up to 20-25km/h), recharging its batteries in a short time to extend its endurance.

This paper is available on IEEE.