A lightweight magnetic gripper for an aerial delivery vehicle: design and applications

Giuseppe Sutera, Dario Calogero Guastella, Giovanni Muscato


In recent years, drones have become widely used in many fields. Their vertical flight capability makes these systems suitable for carrying out a variety of tasks. In this paper, the delivery service they provide is analysed. The delivery of goods quickly and to remote areas is a relevant application scenario; however, the systems proposed in the literature use electromagnets, which affect the duration of the flight. In addition, these devices are heavy and suffer from high energy consumption, which reduces the maximum transportable payload. This study proposes a new lightweight magnetic plate composed of permanent magnets, capable of collecting and positioning any object as long as it has a ferromagnetic surface on the top. This plate was developed for the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge 2020, an international robotics competition for multi-robot systems. Challenge two of this competition required a drone capable of picking up different types of bricks and assembling them to build a wall according to an assigned pattern. The bricks were of different colours and sizes, with weights ranging from 1 to 2 kg. In light of this, it was concluded that weight was the most relevant specification to consider in drone design.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21014/acta_imeko.v10i3.1036