A Biologically Inspired Micro Aerial Vehicle Design and Development

Period of Performance: 02/22/2010 - 02/22/2012


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Impact Technologies, LLC
200 Canal View Blvd
Rochester, NY 14623
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Rochester Institute of Technology
One Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
Institution POC


Impact Technologies, in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Boeing Company, is proposing to complete the development, testing and evaluation of a novel biologically-inspired Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) conceptualized in Phase I and capable of agile and high endurance flight operations in dense and cluttered urban environments. Phase I achievements include the conceptual design of a dragonfly-like MAV, kinematic, dynamic modeling, an accurate attitude estimation device without the use of GPS, and the initial development of the hierarchical/intelligent control architecture. Parts were secured and an initial prototype design initiated. Phase II activities will focus on the optimum design and development of all MAV hardware/software modules and their integration into a prototype. Software in-the-loop and hardware in-the-loop studies will precede flight testing. Our vision is to build an intelligent flight vehicle that embraces new design paradigms inspired by biological principles but also exhibiting attributes of agility, high-endurance and ease of operation. A unique feature of the proposed research is the use of adaptive learning techniques to teach the vehicle how to fly. An integrated lift-generation, propulsion, situational sensing and adaptive control architecture will assure stable flight operations. BENEFIT: With the successful design, development and prototyping of the proposed Micro Air Vehicle, it is strongly anticipated that it will become an essential asset for the warfighter and will position our forces at a distinct advantage providing indispensable ISR information about enemy presence and movement in a cluttered urban environment. Attributes of agility, high-endurance, ease of operation and intelligence, combined with reliable sensing and communications, will enable the warfighter to see beyond physical obstacles or obstructions. In addition to DoD applications, the MAV can be used in a variety of search and rescue operations, border patrol, remote inspection, etc. Scaled versions of the prototype can find uses over an extended terrain or in small closes quarters. The developed technology can be transitioned to other application domains functioning as the eye-in-the-sky .