Autonomous Aerial Hard Docking of Fixed and Rotary Wing UAVs: Task Assessment and Solution Architecture


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This paper covers exploratory efforts that attempt to address limitations and restrictions in the operating envelope of UAVs, and proposes a conceptual solution to the problem. UAVs, like aircraft, can be categorized into two main types: fixed wing and rotary wing. A fixed wing UAV flies using wings that generate lift caused by the vehicle’s forward airspeed and the shape of the wings. The greatest advantage of fixed wing UAVs obtained from utilizing aerodynamic lift is its long range and high endurance performance. However, this primary advantage comes from the fact that most fixed wing UAVs have wings that are of a high aspect ratio, which becomes a liability in confined operating conditions. An autonomous aerial hard docking system is proposed as a system that manages to enable different UAV platforms to have operational envelopes which far exceed the operational envelopes of the constituent UAV platforms. The paper outlines necessary subsystems that need to exist for autonomous aerial hard docking capability. It presents practical requirements of the various constituent subsystems, namely the guidance and navigation subsystem, the grasping subsystem and the damping subsystem. For each of the subsystems, the challenges which have to be overcome to ensure the effectiveness of the complete system are examined. It further elaborates the testing, investigation and development steps that need to be implemented to realize this capability. It ends by elaborating on the work already underway and future development plans. Note that this paper presents a conceptual logical and architectural solution, and as such detailed analysis findings are inappropriate and premature.



Edited by:

R. Varatharajoo, F.I. Romli, K.A. Ahmad, D.L. Majid and F. Mustapha




A. R. Mat et al., "Autonomous Aerial Hard Docking of Fixed and Rotary Wing UAVs: Task Assessment and Solution Architecture", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vol. 629, pp. 176-181, 2014

Online since:

October 2014




* - Corresponding Author

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