Cooperative aerial lift and manipulation (CALM)

Hossein Rastgoftar, Ella M. Atkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper proposes a novel paradigm for aerial payload transport and object manipulation by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) team. This new paradigm, called cooperative payload lift and manipulation (CALM), applies the continuum deformation agent coordination approach to transport and manipulate objects autonomously with collision avoidance guarantees. CALM treats UAVs as moving supports during transport and as stationary supports during object manipulation. Constraints are formulated to assure sufficient thrust forces are available to maintain stability and follow prescribed motion and force/torque profiles. CALM uses tensegrity muscles to carry a suspended payload or a manipulation object rather than cables. A tensegrity structure is lightweight and can carry both the tension and compression forces required during cooperative manipulation. During payload transport, UAVs are categorized as leaders and followers. Leaders define continuum deformation shape and motion profile while followers coordinate through local communication. Each UAV applies input–output (IO) feedback linearization control to track the trajectory defined by continuum deformation. For object manipulation, the paper proposes a new hybrid force controller to stabilize quadcopters when smooth or sudden (impulsive) forces and moments are exerted on the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-118
Number of pages14
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
StatePublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Customizability
  • Locomotion
  • Manipulation
  • Planning
  • Scalability
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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