VectorUAV - (Research)


Flying quadcopter drones is hard. Failures range from comedic crashes to serious incidents: devices can be broken or bystanders injured. We argue that as the commercial and leisure applications of these technologies increase, there is a need to develop more reliable and effective means of controlling them. We propose a novel controller that relies on a combination of orientation sensing to specify the direction of flight and a physical joystick to specify the velocity. We evaluate this against a standard drone control system in a controlled lab studies in a virtual environment. The results suggest that orientation is an effective way to provide directional input, allowing users to reach targets more rapidly, reliably and along more direct paths. We validate the controller design in a limited field study where participants use the technique to control a real drone around a preset track. Subjective comments from participants also indicate our controller provides a more engaging piloting experience.