Authors: Jeffrey Mao, Guanrui Li, Stephen Nogar, Christopher Kroninger, and Giuseppe Loianno
Autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) have the potential to be employed for surveillance and monitoring tasks. By perching and staring on one or multiple locations aerial robots can save energy while concurrently increasing their overall mission time without actively flying. In this paper, we address the estimation, planning, and control problems for autonomous perching on inclined surfaces with small quadrotors using visual and inertial sensing. We focus on planning and executing of dynamically feasible trajectories to navigate and perch to a desired target location with on board sensing and computation. Our planner also supports certain classes of nonlinear global constraints by leveraging an efficient algorithm that we have mathematically verified. The on board cameras and IMU are concurrently used for state estimation and to infer the relative robot/target localization. The proposed solution runs in real-time on board a limited computational unit. Experimental results validate the proposed approach by tackling aggressive perching maneuvers with flight envelopes that include large excursions from the hover position on inclined surfaces up to 90$^\circ$, angular rates up to 600~deg/s, and accelerations up to 10~m/s$^2$.