SplitFlyer Air : A Modular Quadcopter That Disassembles Into Two Bicopters Mid-Air

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

7 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Online published22 Apr 2022
Publication statusOnline published - 22 Apr 2022


Motivated by the flight ability of severely underactuated rotorcraft, we introduce a transformable quadcopter-SplitFlyer Air. The novel vehicle consists of two bicopter modules, each equipped with only two propellers and capable of position-controlled flight. Despite the notable difference in their flight regimes, the robots, in both the bicopter and quadcopter configurations, can be modeled and controlled by a single framework. In the flight experiments, an undocking mechanism with preloaded elastic energy was designed and employed to assist SplitFlyer Air to disassemble autonomously. The catapult-inspired mechanism provides initial yaw rates for the bicopters, accelerating them to reach their hovering states without losing stability or substantial altitude. Thanks to the developed controller and devised mechanism, the transformation flights can be reliably achieved. The ability to disassemble mid-air shows promise for search and rescue missions or other swarm applications as it allows the flock size to adaptively grow on demand.

Research Area(s)

  • Wheels, Robots, Propellers, Prototypes, Vehicle dynamics, Torque, Spinning, Unmanned aerial vehicles, robotic assembly, motion control, AERIAL, DESIGN, QUADROTOR, PERFORMANCE, TRACKING, SUBJECT, VEHICLE