Automatic Helicopter Handling System from FHS Förder- und Hebesysteme GmbH

Robotics | HALCON | Calibration | Measuring

FHS Förder- und Hebesysteme GmbH is a leading supplier of defense technology and naval technology. The company has a long experience and competences in development and production of systems and machines with electrical hydraulical drives and control equipment with complex welded constructions.

The past: handling the landed helicopter manually

Purpose of the Helicopter Handling System

Ship's helicopters on frigates or support ships are an integral part of the weapon system consisting of the ship. Accordingly, facilities must be provided to enable operation on board even in sea state 6 conditions. A handling system is intended to transport the helicopter from the landing deck to the hangar and vice versa. This system must secure the ship's helicopter during its travel. The transfer system must be capable of automatically rotating the helicopter and of transporting it to the hangar. The "classical" approach of doing this job by hand is dangerous and time consuming. Thus, FHS Förder- und Hebesysteme GmbH developed an automatic helicopter handling system.

The image processing unit

Positioning the manipulators based on HALCON's image processing

The system automatically locates the wheels of the helicopter and moves the transverse travel unit to them. Then, two manipulators - one for each wheel of the helicopter - capture flanges at the wheels and rotate the helicopter so that it can be transferred straight on into the hangar. One key component of the whole system is the image processing unit which localizes the helicopter's wheels and flanges and assures that the manipulators can be precisely positioned. The whole image processing is done with HALCON for a robust object recognition which will find the wheels even under worst conditions when the image is disturbed by bad weather, such as fog, rain or darkness. Developing the Helicopter Handling System is a joint project of FHS Förder- und Hebesysteme GmbH, Ingenieurbüro Nordmeier and MVTec Software GmbH where MVTec developed the software of the image processing unit.

Authors: Dr. Maximilian Lückenhaus, MVTec Software GmbH, and FHS Förder- und Hebesysteme GmbH Images kindly provided by FHS Förder- und Hebesysteme GmbH.

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