Emulating avian orographic soaring with a small autonomous glider
Alex Fisher 1,3, Matthew Marino 1, Reece Clothier 1, Simon Watkins 1, Liam Peters 1 and Jennifer L Palmer 2
Published 17 December 2015 • © 2015 IOP Publishing Ltd • Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, Volume 11, Number 1
1 RMIT University Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2 Defence Science and Technology Group Fishermans Bend, VIC, Australia
3 Author to whom any correspondence should be addressed.
Dates Received 24 August 2015 Accepted 16 November 2015 Published 17 December 2015
This paper explores a method by which an unpowered, fixed-wing micro air vehicle (MAV) may autonomously gain height by utilising orographic updrafts in urban environments. These updrafts are created when wind impinges on both man-made and natural obstacles, and are often highly turbulent and very localised. Thus in contrast to most previous autonomous soaring research, which have focused on large thermals and ridges, we use a technique inspired by kestrels known as 'wind-hovering', in order to maintain unpowered flight within small updrafts. A six-degree-of-freedom model of a MAV was developed based on wind-tunnel tests and vortex-lattice calculations, and the model was used to develop and test a simple cascaded control system designed to hold the aircraft on a predefined trajectory within an updraft. The wind fields around two typical updraft locations (a building and a hill) were analysed, and a simplified trajectory calculation method was developed by which trajectories for height gain can be calculated on-board the aircraft based on a priori knowledge of the wind field. The results of simulations are presented, demonstrating the behaviour of the system in both smooth and turbulent flows. Finally, the results from a series of flight tests are presented. Flight tests at the hill were consistently successful, while flights around the building could not be sustained for periods of more than approximately 20 s. The difficulty of operating near a building is attributable to significant levels of low-frequency unsteadiness (gustiness) in the oncoming wind during the flight tests, effectively resulting in a loss of updraft for sustained periods.
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PERGUNTA CAUSTICANTE DESTE BLOGGER:
Se o design na natureza é ilusão, por que os cientistas procuram design na natureza???
Fui, nem sei por que, sem entender bulhufas da Lógica 101 Darwinista.