Autonomous aerial robotics for package delivery: A technical review

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Abstract

Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have gained significant interest in the last decade. More specifically these vehicles have the capacity to impact package delivery logistics in a disruptive way. This paper reviews research problems and state-of-the-art solutions that facilitate package delivery. Different aerial manipulators and grippers are listed along with control techniques to address stability issues. Landing on a platform is next discussed which encompasses static and dynamic platforms. Landing on a dynamic platform presents further challenges. This includes delayed control responses and poor precision of the relative motion between the platform and the aerial vehicle. Subsequently, risks such as weather conditions, state estimation, and collision avoidance to ensure safe transit is considered. Finally, delivery UAV routing is investigated which categorizes the topic into two areas: drone operations and drone–truck collaborative operations. Additionally, we compare the solutions against design, environmental, and legal constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-49
Number of pages47
JournalJournal of Field Robotics
Volume41
Issue number1
Early online date26 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Accountable, Responsible & Transparent AI (ART‐AI), under UKRI grant number EP/S023437/1. The authors would like to thank the ART‐AI center for their support and the editor and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. The authors would also like to thank Henry Ball for his assistance with graphics used in this paper.

Keywords

  • motion control
  • robot hand
  • robust control
  • systems design
  • UAVs

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