The IMAV is the premier conference for researchers and industry to meet and present work on micro sized unmanned flying vehicles. This year the MAVLab presented a total of four papers in the areas of MAV design, control and vision-based navigation. Most notably, the work of Christophe De Wagter, Matej Karásek and Guido de Croon entitled Quad-thopter: tailless flapping wing robot with 4 pairs of wings received the best paper award.

The IMAV competition is split over two days with the first day for outdoor competition and the second for indoor. This year the MAVLab did not actively compete outdoors but brought technology demonstrations. Ewoud Smeur, a PhD candidate in the MAV-lab, presented the work he did in cooperation with the ENAC UAV Lab in Toulouse, in the form of a very impressive demonstration flight with the transitioning Cyclone UAV. The Cyclone is a so-called “hybrid” UAV; a mix between a fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter with the advantages of both combined. Ewoud demonstrated the powerful control algorithms he has developed for the Cyclone, showing the resulting wide flight envelope by starting from hovering flight and then flying a square flight plan at increasingly aggressive flight speeds. The large crowd in attendance was quite impressed.

For the indoor portion of the flying, the MAV-lab decided to take the name of the competition literally and focused on competing with the smallest and lightest vehicles possible. Their efforts paid off as their 45 g pocket drone was at least half the size and quarter the weight of any other vehicle used in the competition.

They were able to successfully fly through a window and an obstacle zone with both the pocket drone and the DelFly Explorer. Both vehicles were equipped with our 4 g stereo-camera system which was used for simultaneous velocity estimation and obstacle detection.

Another interesting challenge in the competition worth noting is the “cooperative carry” task. The teams were tasked with carrying a 500 g frame over a distance of 10 m supported by at least two MAVs. The MAVLab performed this task with two Parrot Bebop 2 quadrotors equipped with ultra wide band (UWB) transceivers. UWB can be used to measure the distance between two transceivers. However, this distance alone is not sufficient to facilitate the precision formation flight required to complete the cooperative carry.

To complete this task, the MAVLab implemented some creative state estimation techniques resulting in a decentralized relative position estimation. This resulted in very impressive flight performance. So impressive in fact that the MAVLab earned the System Design prize for this work. The work on this system was mostly performed by Mario Coppola, Kimberly McGuire, and Steven van der Helm. 

These results gave the MAVLab enough points to grab the third place prize for the second year in a row capping off a productive summer period. The team is already looking forward to IMAV2018, which will be held in Melborne Australia and promises to be more challenging than ever before.

Team Members

Kirk Scheper, Matej Karásek, Diana Olejnik, Kimberly McGuire, Mario Coppola, Kevin van Hecke, Ewoud Smeur, Bart Remes, Christophe De Wagter, Guido de Croon.


Efficient Global Indoor Localization for Micro Aerial Vehicles -Volker Strobel, Roland Meertens, and Guido de Croon

Incremental Nonlinear Dynamic Inversion and Multihole Pressure Probes for Disturbance Rejection Control of Fixed-wing Micro Air Vehicles - Elisabeth S. van der Sman, Ewoud J.J. Smeur, Bart Remes, Christophe De Wagter, and Qiping Chu

Prioritized Control Allocation for Quadrotors Subject to Saturation - Ewoud .J.J. Smeur, Daan C. Höppener, Christophe De Wagter

Quad-thopter: tailless flapping wing robot with 4 pairs of wings - Christophe De Wagter, Matej Karásek, and Guido de Croon - Best paper award


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