Non-Prehensile Manipulation of Cuboid Objects Using a Catenary Robot

Published date: 
Monday, September 27, 2021

Transporting objects using quadrotors with cables has been widely studied in the literature. However, most of those approaches assume that the cables are previously attached to the load by human intervention. In tasks where multiple objects need to be moved, the efficiency of the robotic system is constrained by the requirement of manual labor. Our approach uses a non-stretchable cable connected to two quadrotors, which we call the catenary robot, that fully automates the transportation task. Using the cable, we can roll and drag the cuboid object (box) on planar surfaces. Depending on the surface type, we choose the proper action, dragging for low friction, and rolling for high friction. Therefore, the transportation process does not require any human intervention as we use the cable to interact with the box without requiring fastening. We validate our control design in simulation and with actual robots, where we show them rolling and dragging boxes to track desired trajectories.