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Avian-inspired energy-harvesting from atmospheric phenomena for small UAVs

Abstract : Fixed-wing small, unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) usually fly in atmospheric boundary layers that are often under the influence of turbulent environments. Inspired by nature's flyers, an application of an energy-harvesting flight strategy for increasing the energy state of the aircraft is presented. This paper provides basic longitudinal flight dynamic model exposing the physics behind the process. It shows significant power savings in flight with a sinusoidal and stochastic wind profile with active control of energy-harvesting. The active control based on optimized proportional gains was implemented for energy extraction from realistic atmospheric conditions, leading to significant energy savings for a 'bird-sized' vehicle. The paper reveals the equipment and necessary preparations for the flight test campaign. Moreover, it describes the design of a custom controller and its calibration in the wind tunnel against roll movements during pitching maneuvers. Finally, it investigates the benefits and potential of the automated process of energy-harvesting with simple proportional control through flight tests in a turbulent environment, validating the concept through the increased energy state of the aircraft.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 6:03:47 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 1:44:03 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, June 7, 2019 - 4:42:40 PM


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Nikola Gavrilovic, Mohamed Abdulghani, Matthew Marino, Simon Watkins, Jean-Marc Moschetta, et al.. Avian-inspired energy-harvesting from atmospheric phenomena for small UAVs. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, IOP Publishing, 2018, 14 (1), pp.016006. ⟨10.1088/1748-3190/aaec61⟩. ⟨hal-02059643⟩



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