Date: Wednesday 17 Oct 2012
Time: 18:30 – refreshments from 18:00
Speaker: Stefan Winkvist – (Warwick winner from the posters evening in March) www.mobilerobotics.warwick.ac.uk/uav
Location: IMC (International Manufacturing Centre) Warwick University
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are becoming increasingly popular for use in industry, research and the military. Most commercial UAV systems are, however, designed to be operated outdoors, relying heavily on accurate GPS data to either maintain their position or to move to their next waypoint. There are many scenarios where a UAV may need to be operated indoors, or within urban canyons, where GPS is either unreliable or unavailable.
For example inspecting hazardous or structurally damaged buildings, where it would be dangerous for personnel to enter. In this scenario all current commercial UAV platforms would need to be manually flown by the operator, relying solely on first person view (FPV) video systems to control the UAV, avoid any collision risks, navigate the structure and complete the objectives of the flight.
The aim of this project is to overcome these issues by developing a semi-autonomous UAV, which, using on-board sensors, maintains stable flight, avoids collisions and can locate and navigate itself within an unknown, GPS denied environment. Thereby significantly reducing the operators workload, as their task is shifted towards simply directing the UAV where to go as best to complete the mission objectives.
Stefan is part of WMG Warwick Mobile Robots group – please see http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/eng/meng/wmr/projects/
Stefan outlined how this project was spun out from the needs of decomissioning one of the Sellafield reactor buildings, and the constrains and requirements put on the project. A series of interesting vidieo clips were presented followed by a live demonstration. Stefen also took the platform outside and some of us experienced the impressive rate of climb the hexacopter could acheive even with its expensive and heavy payload.