Towards Autonomous UAV Railway DC Line Recharging: Design and Simulation

Frederik Falk Nyboe, Nicolaj Haarhøj Malle, Gerd Vom Bögel, Linda Cousin, Thomas Heckel, Konstantin Troidl, Anders Schack Madsen, Emad Ebeid

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    Autonomously recharging UAVs from existing infrastructure has enormous potential for various applications, such as infrastructure inspection, surveillance, and search and rescue. While it is an active area of research, most related work focuses on alternating current (AC) infrastructure while very little work has been done on investigating the potential of recharging UAVs from direct current (DC) infrastructure. This work proposes a UAV system designed to autonomously recharge from existing DC infrastructure. Two onboard powerline grippers and a motorized cable drum enable the UAV to perform a two-stage landing on railway DC lines where a wire is connected between them through the UAV for recharging. Light-weight electronics designed to be carried by the UAV are developed to harvest energy from up to 3kV DC railway lines. The recharge mission is autonomously executed using fully onboard and real-time perception and trajectory planning and tracking algorithms. The potential of the system is shown in lab setting validation, with hardware-in-the-loop simulation, and partly in a real overhead powerline environment, verifying the functionality of the sub-components.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) : IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
    Number of pages7
    Publication date2023
    ISBN (Electronic)9798350323658
    Publication statusPublished - 2023
    Event2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) - London, United Kingdom
    Duration: 29. May 20232. Jun 2023


    Conference2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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