Evolved neuromorphic radar-based altitude controller for an autonomous open-source blimp

M. Gonzalez Alvarez, J.J.G. Dupeyroux, Federico Corradi, G.C.H.E. de Croon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Robotic airships offer significant advantages in terms of safety, mobility, and extended flight times. However, their highly restrictive weight constraints pose a major challenge regarding the available computational resources to perform the required control tasks. Neuromorphic computing stands for a promising research direction for addressing such problem. By mimicking the biological process for transferring information between neurons using spikes or impulses, spiking neural networks (SNNs) allow for low power consumption and asynchronous event-driven processing. In this paper, we propose an evolved altitude controller based on an SNN for a robotic airship which relies solely on the sensory feedback provided by an airborne radar. Starting from the design of a lightweight, low-cost, open-source airship, we also present an SNN-based controller architecture, an evolutionary framework for training the network in a simulated environment, and a control strategy for ameliorating the gap with reality. The system's performance is evaluated through real-world experiments, demonstrating the advantages of our approach by comparing it with an artificial neural network and a linear controller. The results show an accurate tracking of the altitude command with an efficient control effort.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2022
EditorsGeorge J. Pappas, Vijay Kumar
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-9681-7
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: 23 May 202227 May 2022
Conference number: 39

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
ISSN (Print)1050-4729


Conference2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
Abbreviated titleICRA 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.

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