This paper describes the design of an autonomous blimp-based robot and its navigation system. The robot was based on a commercial kit and its dimensions were suitable for use in indoor environments. Our main goal was to develop a simple and safe model for evaluating different autonomously controlled navigation techniques. Due to the special requirements of this application, two specific electronics boards to control the blimp and to communicate with the PC ground station were designed and two different altitude controllers and also a controller to maintain distance from obstacles were implemented. Finally, comparative results on both altitude controllers are presented.
Blimp; Autonomous robot; Robot navigation; Altitude controller; Control avoidance controller; Fuzzy logic control