High-Power Propulsion Strategies for Aquatic Take-off in Robotics
The ability to move between air and water with miniature robots would allow distributed water sampling and monitoring of a variety of unstructured marine environments, such as coral reefs and coastal areas. To enable such applications, we are developing a new class of aerial-aquatic robots, called Aquatic Micro Aerial Vehicles (AquaMAVs), capable of diving into the water and returning to flight. One of the main challenges in the development of an AquaMAV is the provision of sufficient power density for take-off from the water. In this paper, we present a novel system for powerful, repeatable aquatic escape using acetylene explosions in a 34 g water jet thruster, which expels water collected from its environment as propellant. We overcome the miniaturisation problems of combustible fuel control and storage by generating acetylene gas from solid calcium carbide, which is reacted with enviromental water. The produced gas is then combusted in air in a valveless combustion chamber to produce over 20 N of thrust, sufficient to propel small robots into the air from water. The system for producing combustible gases from solid fuels is a very compact means of gas storage, and can be applied to other forms of pneumatic actuation and inflatable structure deployment.
This project was funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and an Imperial College London Faculty of Engineering Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) Award.
- 1.Borchsenius, J., Pinder, S.: Underwater glider propulsion using chemical hydrides. In: OCEANS 2010 IEEE-Sydney, IEEE, pp. 1–8 (2010)Google Scholar
- 5.Izraelevitz, J., Triantafyllou, M.: A novel degree of freedom in flapping wings shows promise for a dual aerial/aquatic vehicle propulsor. arXiv preprint arXiv:1412.3843 (2014)
- 6.Jones, K., Boria, F., Bachmann, R., Vaidyanathan, R., Ifju, P., Quinn, R.: Mmalv - the morphing micro air-land vehicle. In: IROS 2006 (2006)Google Scholar
- 12.Meadows, G., Atkins, E., Washabaugh, P., Meadows, L., Bernal, L., Gilchrist, B., Smith, D., Van Sumeren, H., Macy, D., Eubank, R., et al.: The flying fish persistent ocean surveillance platform. In AIAA Unmanned Unlimited Conference (2009)Google Scholar
- 13.Newhouse, H., Payne, P.: Underwater power source study. Technical report, DTIC Document (1981)Google Scholar
- 14.Ore, J.-P., Elbaum, S., Burgin, A., Zhao, B., Detweiler, C.: Autonomous aerial water sampling. In: The 9th International Conference on Field and Service Robots (FSR) (2013)Google Scholar
- 15.Schwarzbach, M., Laiacker, M., Mulero-Pazmany, M., Kondak, K.: Remote water sampling using flying robots. In: 2014 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), IEEE, pp. 72–76 (2014)Google Scholar
- 17.Siddall, R., Kovač, M.: Fast aquatic escape with a jet thruster. IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatron. (2016)Google Scholar
- 18.Siddall, R., Kovač, M.: A water jet thruster for an aquatic micro air vehicle. In: 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), IEEE (2015)Google Scholar
- 20.Tolley, M., Shepherd, R.F., Karpelson, M., Bartlett, N.W., Galloway, K.C., Wehner, M., Nunes, R., Whitesides, G.M., Wood, R.J.: An untethered jumping soft robot. In: 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2014), IEEE, pp. 561–566 (2014)Google Scholar
- 21.Vidyasagar, A., Zufferey, J.-C., Floreano, D., Kovač, M.: Performance analysis of jump-gliding locomotion for miniature robotics. Bioinspir. Biomim. (2015)Google Scholar
- 23.Woodward, M.A., Sitti, M.: Multimo-bat: a biologically inspired integrated jumping gliding robot. Int. J. Robot. Res. (2014)Google Scholar