In the construction industry, excavators play a major role in any project. A transition from manual to autonomous operation of them can save a significant amount of costs and time.
The main contribution of this study is that a prototype of a flying excavation platform using a drone is presented, which flies autonomously and carries out excavation operations while executing a planned mission through the Ardupilot platform. For the excavation, the platform can exert a force of up to 42N with its integrated excavating arm to dig and lift the soil in the flight operation. This development is the first attempt in the recent drone and construction industry, which allows excavations can be done while in flight. A sensing algorithm has also been developed by using a 3D depth camera that facilitates fully autonomous excavations by detecting the depth of the soil to dig.
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