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Dimitra Panagou Assistant Professor at the Aerospace Engineering Department, University of Michigan

The Distributed Aerospace Systems and Control Laboratory

The Distributed Aerospace Systems and Control Laboratory (B203 FXB Building, Department of Aerospace Engineering) is a 7m x 7m x 9.5 m space directed by Dr. Dimitra Panagou.

Lab Photo
Lab Photo

The lab is equipped with a fleet of miniature, agile aerial vehicles (Fig. 1). Six Hummingbird quadrotors from Ascending Technologies, Germany, are used as the main multi-UAV platform (Fig. 1(c)). Each Hummingbird has its own onboard sensor system including 3-axis accelerometers, 3-axis gyroscopes, pressure sensors, GPS receivers, 3D magnetometers, flight control software and XBee Pro 2.4 GHz wireless data links. Communication among the vehicles has been established through the XBee links, and each one will be equipped with onboard cameras and microprocessors within the next month. The Ascending Technologies Firefly (Fig. 1(e)), a powerful hexacopter, was recently added to our fleet to be utilized as a state-of-the-art platform for computer vision applications and indoors/outdoors highly stable flight. The Firefly comes with a stereo vision module, vibration damped slots for various payloads and a high precision inertial navigation system that offers an excellent platform to test our visual-assisted dynamic coverage and coordination algorithms.

One miniature quadrotor (Lumenier QAV250 Carbon Fiber Mini Quad, 250 mm size airframe) equipped with open source autopilot (APM 2.6 flight controller, including 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope and high performance barometer, acquired from 3D Robotics) and onboard camera, is available for vision-based navigation and guidance (Fig. 1(d)). Two small helicopters (Walkera Master CP 6Ch RTF Helicopter, Fig. 1(f)) were also recently acquired and have been equipped with APM 2.6 flight controllers to enable autonomous flight.

Hummingbird Quadrotor
(c) Hummingbird Quadrotor from As-cending Technologies.
Lumenier QAV250
(d) Lumenier QAV250 Carbon Fiber Mini Quad.
Firefly Hexacopter
(e) The Firefly Hexacopter from Ascending Technologies.
Walkera Master
(f) Walkera Master CP 6Ch RTF Helicopter.

Figure 1: Drones available at DASC Lab.

The lab is equipped with a motion capture system comprising 14 VICON cameras (8 T40S, 6 Bonita) since June 2015. The motion capture system is effective in a volume of 7m x 7m x 5.5m and provides low-latency (2.5 msec) and high accuracy (<0.5 mm in translation, <0.5 degrees in rotation) measurements of the vehicles' position and attitude.