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Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

, Volume 65, Issue 1–4, pp 417–435 | Cite as

Design and Analysis of a Gyroscopically Controlled Micro Air Vehicle

  • Chris E. ThorneEmail author
  • Mark Yim
Article

Abstract

Micro air vehicles have emerged as a popular option for diverse robotic and teleoperated applications in both open terrain and urban environments because of their inherent stealth and portability. To perform many of the tasks envisioned for micro air vehicles, agility is essential. To date, research efforts to improve agility have focused primarily on constructing complex controllers to enable existing vertical-take-off- and-landing vehicles, such as remote-controlled helicopters and quadrotors, to perform aerobatic maneuvers autonomously. In this work, we adopt a system-level perspective and analyze a new design for a rotary-wing micro air vehicle that utilizes gyroscopic dynamics for attitude control. Unlike traditional vehicles where attitude control moments are generated by aerodynamic control surfaces, the proposed vehicle will leverage the existing angular momentum of its counter rotating components. This paradigm has the potential to yield significant increases in agility when compared to state-of-the-art micro vertical take-off and landing vehicles. The proposed design reduces mechanical complexity by precluding the use of complex mechanisms, such as the swashplate. The capacity to rapidly generate large gyroscopic control moments, coupled with the precision gained from eliminating the need for complex and restrictive aerodynamic models, improves both agility and adaptability. We present the development of a gyroscopically controlled micro air vehicle including comprehensive models of the dynamics and the aerodynamics with an emphasis on the design and analysis of such systems. A dynamics simulator that incorporates these models and mechanical hardware solutions to challenges that arose during prototyping will also be presented.

Keywords

Micro air vehicle Gyroscopic control Vertical take-off and landing Control moment gyroscope 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics DepartmentUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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