Ph.D. Defense – Sylvain Thorel

Sylvain Thorel is pleased to invite you to his PhD. defense on november, Thursday 14, 10h30 am.
Ph.D title:

Design and construction of an autonomous hybrid ground/air drone for indoor applications

Date: thursday 14, november 2014, 10h30 am
Place:   Mines ParisTech 60 boulevard Saint-Michel 75006 Paris salle L106

Jury composition 

Mme Isabelle FANTONI, Directeur de recherche CNRS, Heudiasyc UTC, Examiner
M. Pascal MORIN, Professor, ISIR, UPMC, Rapporteur
M. Jean-Michel CORON, Professor, Laboratoire Jacques-Louis, UPMC, Examiner
M. Tarek HAMEL, Professor, i3s, sophia antipolis, Examiner
M. Phillipe MARTINET, Professor, IRCCYN, école Centrale de Nantes, Examiner
M. Bruno STEUX, Directeur R&D, Nexter Robotics, Examiner
Mme Brigitte D’ANDREA-NOVEL, Professor, CAOR, MINES ParisTech, Directeur de thèse


This thesis is dedicated to the non-linear control of a special hybrid quadrotor which is able to fly, and slide on the ground like an hovercraft. In the context of an autonomous indoor exploration this hybrid concept allows saving energy when flying is not necessary, since the drone can then slide on the ground without having to compensate for the gravity; autonomy can last beyond the 20 minutes typical of a standard quadrotor. Contrarily to wheeled mobile robots, the hybrid drone ability to move across space is strongly increased since it can fly to avoid obstacles, to move between two levels, to get in through a window. The study under consideration is essentially focused on the displacement of the drone on the ground and aims at designing and implementing a control law so that our system is able to track a 2D xy plane trajectory. This terrestrial quadrotor is similar to a slider underactuated vehicle. The point stabilisation is then separately studied from the trajectory tracking issue because of the Brockett condition, which is not satisfied in that case; our platform cannot be stabilized by means of continuous state feedbacks. This thesis proposes different theoretical developments based on the literature and deriving from time varying control laws, transverse functions, flatness or backstepping techniques to solve both point stabilisation and trajectory tracking. The experimental part of the thesis is based on the recovering of the drone position in real time and orientation via a Motion Capture system for feedback loop in the control law; the proposed dynamical model was validated as well as the control and command laws for the tracking of a circular trajectory.

Keywords: Quadrotors, hovercraft, underactuated system, non linear control, trajectory tracking, point stabilisation, autonomous indoor exploration.

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