The Robot Blimps (Aerobots)

The Aerobot is an autonomously controlled lighter than air vehicle which uses a helium filled balloon for its primary lift. The balloon (blimp) is made of two circular panels 1.25m in diameter sealed around the edge, once filled it has the shape of a squashed sphere 1m in diameter producing 210g in lift. A gondola containing the control, communication and propulsion systems is fitted centrally to the underside of the envelope providing a stable level platform for the ultrasonic altimeter. The altimeter bounces an ultrasound pulse off the floor and works out the distance from the time of flight of the returning echo.

Each Aerobot consists of the following sub-systems:


Aerobot Arena

Download movie files of the Aerobot performance.

Clip 1 Maintaining set height. Video clip shows the Aerobot maintaining a constant height using the ultrasonic altimeter technology described here.

Clip 2 Flying away and coming back. Video clip shows the Aerobot flying from a point to another point and back again, The points in space being determined by the vision system talking to the Aerobot giving positional data.

Clip 3 Landing by a marker. Video clip shows the Aerobot moving towards a given point to land, again the positional data is given by the vision system talking to the Aerobot.


Envelope          Gondola          Propulsion          Controller         Ultrasonics          Batteries