Inventing a Biologically Inspired, Energy-Efficient Micro Aerial Vehicle

  • Jayant Ratti
  • George J. Vachtsevanos
Reference work entry


In recent years, research efforts have focused on the design, development, and deployment of unmanned systems for a variety of applications ranging from intelligence and surveillance to border patrol, rescue operations, etc. Micro aerial vehicles are viewed as potential targets that can provide agility and accurate small area coverage while being costeffective and can be easily launched by a single operator. The small size of MAVs allows such flight operations within confined space but the control effectors must provide sufficient maneuverability, while maintaining stability, with only limited sensing capability onboard the platform. To meet these challenges, researchers have long been attracted by the amazing attributes of biological systems, such as those exhibited by birds and insects. Birds can fly in dense flocks, executing rapid maneuvers with g-loads far in excess of modern fighter aircrafts, and yet never collide with each other, despite the absence of air traffic controllers. This chapter introduces a novel framework for the design and control of a micro air vehicle. The vehicle’s conceptual design is based on biologically inspired principles and emulates a dragonfly (Odonata-Anisoptera). A sophisticated multilayered hybrid and linear/non-linear controller to achieve extended flight times and improved agility compared to other rotary and flapping wing MAV designs. The chapter addresses the design and control features of the proposed QV design and gives an overview on the developmental efforts towards the prototyping of the flyer. The potential applications for such a high-endurance vehicle are numerous, including airdeployable mass surveillance in cluster and swarm formations. The disposability of the vehicle would help in battlefield deployment as well, where such a, MAV would be made available to soldiers for proximity sensing and threat level assessment. Other applications would include search and rescue operations and civilian law enforcement.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Step Response Lead Edge Vortex Actuation Mechanism Rotary Wing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for sponsoring the research and development of the project. We also acknowledge the support of our industrial partner Impact Technologies, LLC. The authors thank the undergraduate student members and research scholars for their contributions: Seong-Joo Kim, Jung-Ho Moon, Emanuel M. Jones, Thomas.

D. Pappas, Andrew Punnoose, Aaron T. May, Maha Hosain, and Joshua A. Sandler. We also acknowledge the facilities and resources provided by Georgia Institute of Technology for the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Robotics & Intelligent MachinesTechJect Inc.AtlantaUSA
  2. 2.School of Electrical and Computer EngineeringThe Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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