A Phenomenological Approach to Adaptive Flight Control of Agile MAVs

Period of Performance: 08/01/2008 - 05/01/2009

$100K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

TAO of Systems Integration, Inc.
1100 Exploration Way
Hampton, VA 23666
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Florida
339 Weil Hall
Gainsville, FL 32611
Institution POC

Abstract

Recent experimental studies have shown that insects, bats, and birds manipulate vortex structures (circulation) with active wing morphing in order to achieve high lift even at low speeds. Tao Systems in partnership with the University of Florida proposes the development of an innovative technique to directly measure relative changes in vortex strength in order to control the instantaneous lift generated by flexible wings. The vortex structures and their spatial translation along the wing surface will be characterized with flush-mounted, micron-thin hot-film sensor arrays that are operated by high-sensitivity, large bandwidth signal conditioning and processing system pioneered by Tao Systems. The low-Reynolds number flow that is unique to the MAVs poses severe challenges to conventional approaches that are based on computing and collecting vast amounts of data to characterize the complex aerodynamic environment. Practically all the current methods used for flight control depend primarily on inputs from structural response to the unsteady aerodynamic environment, which is rarely, if ever, measured directly. The proposed innovation will make it possible to sense, actuate, and control the unsteady aerodynamic-structural interactions for precision operation of MAVs.