Got a reply from both Daniel Mellinger and Prof. Vijay Kumar about their Quadrotor project at UPenn. Kumar referred me to Mellinger, actually; here’s what Mellinger had to say about their work:
How long have Daniel Mellinger, Dr. Nathan Michael, and Professor Vijay Kumar been working on this project?
Nathan and Vijay have been working with the quadrotors since October 2008. Daniel joined the project in December 2009.
How did the project get started?
Initially, the group was interested in cooperative manipulation with quadrotors (video example below). When I (Daniel Mellinger) joined the project we started working on aggressive flight.
In what real-world applications can/will the results of this project be used?
Searching areas that are too dangerous or impractical for humans to enter. The quadrotor could enter a building on fire, for example, and provide a camera view to outside operators to look for people who need help.
What kind of blend of Computer Science and Mechanical/Electrical Engineering do you use to work on this project?
We use 25% computer science, 55% mechanical engineering and 20%
Are you working on giving the Quadrotor any new maneuvers?
Yes, we are not exactly sure what though. Stay tuned to our youtube channel and my website:
Concise. I can’t wait to see more of their work!