Researchers at the RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia have drawn inspiration from the way kestrels hover above their prey to develop an autonomous fixed-wing micro air vehicle (MAV) that can gain height from convenient updrafts.
The results are published today, Friday 18th December, in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.
“It’s long been known the birds take advantage of upward air currents to save energy when flying” explains Alex Fisher, a lead author of the paper. “This ‘boost’ of upward-moving air can be found when the wind hits a large obstacle, like a cliff or mountain range, and to a smaller extent close to man-made obstacles like buildings.”
“We envisage that in the future, MAVs will be used for many tasks in urban environments, such as delivering packages, performing surveillance, and search and rescue” he continues. “Using these updrafts would make them more efficient and therefore extend their working range.”
“If you’re familiar with the kestrel, you may know they’ve got a unique way of hunting – hovering over a location without flapping their wings. This allows them to keep their heads still with incredible precision, helping them spot prey on the ground. The preciseness at which they hold position led us to thinking we could try this ‘wind-hovering’ technique on our MAV.”
The researchers used a commercially available polystyrene foam sail-plane as their test platform.
“We were lucky in a sense that these were lightweight, as it allowed us to test the MAV easily in the field” continues Fisher. “This MAV we chose had a number of advantages, including the ability to fly well in light winds, and large control surfaces making it more nimble in the air.”
After developing a control algorithm and installing it on a 36 mm x 26 mm control board which was interfaced with a GPS and magnetometer, the MAV was flown at two test locations, near a hill and close to a building.
At the hill-side, the MAV was able to gain approximately 360 ft (120 m) in height, and could fly autonomously until the control batteries lost power.
Tests close to the building proved more difficult, with the MAV only capable of sustaining flight for around 20 seconds.
“The MAV has a relatively narrow range of wind speeds at which it can soar without power” concludes Fisher. “Birds are able to overcome this problem to some extent by changing the shape of their wings or moving their feathers.”
“Our human pilot was able to outperform our control algorithm under gusty conditions – but not by much! Long-lasting gusts and lulls were a particular problem, but we learnt a lot from these tests.”
Fisher and his colleagues are now working on ways to mimic the changing arrangement of the wing and feathers on hovering birds, to improve the soaring performance of their MAV.
The Latest on: Autonomous glider
[google_news title=”” keyword=”autonomous glider” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Autonomous glider
- Black Mountains: Pilot in hospital after glider crashon December 6, 2023 at 8:36 am
The glider is a 1991 German-built Rolladen-Schneider LS6 A pilot has been taken to hospital after their glider crashed into the side of a mountain. Emergency services were called to the scene at ...
- Sojag Bahia Patio Glider In Charcoalon December 4, 2023 at 4:00 pm
The distinctive Bahia glider has an easy glide mechanism. Enjoy many scintillating sunsets while gliding in this beautiful rocker for years to come. High-quality aluminum structure The frame is ...
- Autonomous intermodal vehicle developer signs partnership with port in Washington stateon December 4, 2023 at 7:46 am
Glid Technologies is developing autonomous, bi-modal Gliders that can operate on road and rail. Glid WOODLAND, Wash. – A Washington state port will serve as a test bed for Glīd Technologies’ ...
- Fortnite High Octane Glideron December 3, 2023 at 4:00 pm
High Octane is an Epic Fortnite Glider from the Hired Gun set. High Octane was available via the Battle Pass during Season 3 and could be unlocked at Tier 100. High Octane is part of Season 3. If that ...
- Fortnite Rush Glideron December 3, 2023 at 4:00 pm
Rush is an Uncommon Fortnite Glider. This cosmetic has been leaked, and the glider will hopefully be available to purchase in the near future! Rush was first added to the game in Fortnite Chapter 1 ...
- Marine Corps looks at ocean glider for rapid resupply to fight Chinaon November 30, 2023 at 10:50 am
With speeds of 180 miles per hour, the seaglider could fill a known gap in the Marines’ high-speed logistics mission in the Pacific.
- Researchers develop novel deep learning-based detection system for autonomous vehicleson November 29, 2023 at 3:59 pm
Autonomous vehicles require object detection systems to navigate traffic and avoid obstacles on the road. However, current detection methods often suffer from diminished detection capabilities due ...
- Deep-diving robots checking for climate collapse in our oceanson November 23, 2023 at 3:05 pm
As well as monitoring the Amoc, the data gathered by gliders helps improve scientists' understanding ... Other robotic technology being used includes an autonomous boat which uses sonar to collect ...
- Top 10 Rarest Gliders in Fortnite (November 2023)on November 13, 2023 at 4:00 pm
The Get Down glider is all about glitz and glam, releasing as part of the Season 2 Battle Pass back in Chapter 1. That makes it yet another glider that originally featured in 2017, but rather than ...
- Autonomous trucking: ‘What’s love got to do with it?’on November 10, 2023 at 3:00 am
Lior Ron is a fan of autonomous trucking. You might even say the founder and CEO of Uber Freight loves the idea of driverless trucks. But as the late Tina Turner asked, “What’s love go to do ...
via Bing News