Improving the Hexacopter: From 6 to 12 Degrees of Freedom in Flight

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Improving the Hexacopter: From 6 to 12 Degrees of Freedom in Flight

A website that I really enjoy is Hack A Day. Each day Hack A Day publishes fresh “hacks” from around the Internet. While browsing today, I ran into this interesting article titled “Harrier-like Tilt Thrust in Multirotor Aircraft.” The article covers recent work from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) and Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK). Together they’ve been able to improve upon the traditional hexacopter design by adding six tiltable axes. The results are impressive.

A traditional quadcopter is designed to achieve 6 degrees of freedom — three translational and three rotational — and piloting these manually can prove to be a challenge for beginners. Hexacopters offer better stability and flight speed at a higher price but the flight controller gets a bit more complex.

Taking this to a whole new level, the teams at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) and Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK) have come together to present a hexacopter with 6 individually tiltable axes. The 360-degree tilt in rotors allows for a whopping 12-degrees of freedom in flight and allows the UAV to fly in essentially any direction including parallel to walls.

In addition to the acrobatic capabilities of the design, the team has done some testing with autonomous control using external cameras. Their blog contains videos of their testing at various stages and it interesting to see the project evolve over a short span of nine months. Check out the video below of the prototype in action.

With Amazon delivering packages via drone and getting patents for parachute labels, UAV design is evolving faster now than ever. We can’t wait to see where this 12 DOF takes the state of the art.

Harrier-like Tilt Thrust in Multirotor Aircraft

Want to see this thing in action? Checkout:

VOLIRO – The Omnidirectional Hexacopter

The Voliro hexacopter has been developed, assembled and programmed as a student project at ETH Zurich.

It has the unique capability of being able to hover in any arbitrary orientation, even vertically or upside down. Unlike standard multicopters, the position and the orientation are completely decoupled and can be steered independently. This is achieved by six additional tilting motors which allow the rotor units to turn around its axes.

The Voliro hexacopter is a platform which expands the potential of conventional drones and allows many future applications. As it can fly vertically, it could also drive with a chassis on a wall and perform tasks like bridge inspection or creating paintings on the wall.

and

Voliro Six-Axis Drone Flies Like Nothing Else

Imagine the footage you could get with this bad boy.
It was made by students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Zurich University of the Arts. Their goal was to create a drone that can hover in any orientation in the air.

Very impressive!

By | 2017-08-31T15:23:25+00:00 July 14th, 2017|Drone Technology, Drones, Interesting, New Drones|Comments Off on Improving the Hexacopter: From 6 to 12 Degrees of Freedom in Flight

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About the Author:

Sam Estrin
I'm an avid drone enthusiast and part-time drone blogger living outside of the DC area. I track drone news and write editorials and timely drone news stories that I find interesting. If you like my stories, you can follow me on Twitter or visit me at LinkedIn. If you'd like me to write for your drone oriented publication or blog, you can contact me at info@droneuniversities.com.