In nature, we can find plenty of examples of birds capturing moving prey off the ground or in water. As it turns out, such functionality can be added to quadcopters. As Vijay Kumar explains, the idea is to add dynamic grasping to drones for fast pick & place operations and delivery of objects. The idea was implemented with a motion capture system without external sensors.
The team developed a
methodology for flying and grasping a cylindrical object using feedback from a monocular camera and an inertial measurement unit onboard the aerial robot. This is accomplished by mapping the dynamics of the quadrotor to a level virtual image plane, which in turn enables dynamically-feasible trajectory planning for image features in the image space, and a vision-based controller with guaranteed convergence properties.