Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II

A special issue of Drones (ISSN 2504-446X). This special issue belongs to the section "Drone Design and Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (24 November 2023) | Viewed by 42389

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Interests: robot navigation; deployment of drones; unmanned aerial vehicles; control of wireless communication networks; control of power systems; robust control and filtering; hybrid dynamical systems; control engineering; biomedical engineering
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The use of aerial drones, also known as flying robots, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or airships, as well as the use of unmanned marine vehicles is rapidly expanding to numerous applications, such as communication, environmental monitoring, rescue operations, policing, video surveillance, product deliveries and smart agriculture. For all these applications, conceptual design, modeling and control strategies of aerial and marine drones are critical issues. Advanced methods of modeling, navigation and control play an important role in achieving the reliable, robust, secure and cost-effective functioning of drones. This Special Issue is focused on new developments in the field of modeling, navigation and control strategies for various applications. Potential topics include but are not limited to UAV control systems, advanced methods of UAV navigation and guidance, navigation of autonomous underwater vehicles and unmanned surface vehicles, mathematical models of aerial and marine drones, navigation and control of collaborating UAVs and ground vehicles, control and navigation of aerial and marine drones for surveillance, environmental, delivery, rescue, smart agriculture, policing and security applications.

Prof. Dr. Andrey V. Savkin
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Drones is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • navigation of aerial drones
  • advanced control of aerial and marine drones
  • UAV path planning
  • modelling of drones
  • UAV control systems
  • applications of aerial and marine drones
  • UAV surveillance and monitoring
  • collision-free navigation and control of aerial and marine drones
  • UAVs collaborating with ground vehicles
  • navigation of autonomous underwater vehicles and unmanned marine vehicles

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Published Papers (18 papers)

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17 pages, 1286 KiB  
Article
On the Dynamics of Flexible Wings for Designing a Flapping-Wing UAV
by Renan Cavenaghi Silva and Douglas D. Bueno
Drones 2024, 8(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8020056 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1320
Abstract
The increasing number of applications involving the use of UAVs has motivated the research for design considerations that increase the safety, endurance, range, and payload capability of these vehicles. In this article, the dynamics of a flexible flapping wing is investigated, focused on [...] Read more.
The increasing number of applications involving the use of UAVs has motivated the research for design considerations that increase the safety, endurance, range, and payload capability of these vehicles. In this article, the dynamics of a flexible flapping wing is investigated, focused on designing bio-inspired UAVs. A dynamic model of the Flapping-Wing UAV is proposed by using 2D beam elements defined in the absolute nodal coordinate formulation, and the flapping is imposed through constraint equations coupled to the equation of motion using Lagrange multipliers. The nodal coordinate trajectories are obtained by integrating the equation of motion using the Runge–Kutta algorithm. The imposed flapping is modulated using a proposed smooth function to reduce transient vibrations at the start of the motion. The results shows that wing flexibility yields significant differences compared to rigid-wing models, depending on the flapping frequency. Limited amplitude of oscillation is obtained when considering a non-resonant flapping strategy, whereas in resonance, the energy levels efficiently increase. The results also demonstrate the influence of different flapping strategies on the energy dissipation, which are relevant to increasing the time of flight. The proposed approach is an interesting alternative for designing flexible, bio-inspired, flapping-wing UAVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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23 pages, 4211 KiB  
Article
Fixed-Time Extended Observer-Based Adaptive Sliding Mode Control for a Quadrotor UAV under Severe Turbulent Wind
by Armando Miranda-Moya, Herman Castañeda and Hesheng Wang
Drones 2023, 7(12), 700; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7120700 - 09 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1666
Abstract
This paper presents a fixed-time extended state observer-based adaptive sliding mode controller evaluated in a quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle subject to severe turbulent wind while executing a desired trajectory. Since both the state and model of the system are assumed to be partially [...] Read more.
This paper presents a fixed-time extended state observer-based adaptive sliding mode controller evaluated in a quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle subject to severe turbulent wind while executing a desired trajectory. Since both the state and model of the system are assumed to be partially known, the observer, whose convergence is independent from the initial states of the system, estimates the full state, model uncertainties, and the effects of turbulent wind in fixed time. Such information is then compensated via feedback control conducted by a class of adaptive sliding mode controller, which is robust to perturbations and reduces the chattering effect by non-overestimating its adaptive gain. Furthermore, the stability of the closed-loop system is analyzed by means of the Lyapunov theory. Finally, simulation results validate the feasibility and advantages of the proposed strategy, where the observer enhances performance. For further demonstration, a comparison with an existent approach is provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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18 pages, 1112 KiB  
Article
A Hybrid Global/Reactive Algorithm for Collision-Free UAV Navigation in 3D Environments with Steady and Moving Obstacles
by Satish C. Verma, Siyuan Li and Andrey V. Savkin
Drones 2023, 7(11), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7110675 - 13 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1580
Abstract
This paper introduces a practical navigation approach for nonholonomic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in 3D environment settings with numerous stationary and dynamic obstacles. To achieve the intended outcome, Dynamic Programming (DP) is combined with a reactive control algorithm. The DP allows the UAVs [...] Read more.
This paper introduces a practical navigation approach for nonholonomic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in 3D environment settings with numerous stationary and dynamic obstacles. To achieve the intended outcome, Dynamic Programming (DP) is combined with a reactive control algorithm. The DP allows the UAVs to navigate among known static barriers and obstacles. Additionally, the reactive controller uses data from the onboard sensor to avoid unforeseen obstacles. The proposed strategy is illustrated through computer simulation results. In simulations, the UAV successfully navigates around dynamic obstacles while maintaining its route to the target. These results highlight the ability of our proposed approach to ensure safe and efficient UAV navigation in complex and obstacle-laden environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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23 pages, 10924 KiB  
Article
Validation of the Flight Dynamics Engine of the X-Plane Simulator in Comparison with the Real Flight Data of the Quadrotor UAV Using CIFER
by Minh-Hoang Do, Chin-E Lin and Ying-Chih Lai
Drones 2023, 7(9), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7090548 - 24 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1105
Abstract
The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is extensively employed in various sectors. To ensure adherence to design specifications and mission requirements, it is vital to verify flight control and system performance using an accurate dynamic model specific to [...] Read more.
The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is extensively employed in various sectors. To ensure adherence to design specifications and mission requirements, it is vital to verify flight control and system performance using an accurate dynamic model specific to UAV configuration. Traditionally, engineers follow a sequential approach in UAV design, which involves multiple design iterations comprising CAD drawings, material collection, fabrication, flight tests, system identification, modifications, dynamic model extraction, checking if the results meet requirements, and then repeating the process. However, as UAVs become larger, heavier, and more enduring to meet complex system demands, the costs and time associated with each design iteration of creating a new UAV escalate exponentially. The bare-airframe dynamics of the UAV are crucial for engineers to design a controller and validate handling quality and performance. This paper proposes a novel method to accurately predict the dynamic model of the bare airframe for quadrotor UAVs without physically constructing them in the real world. The core concept revolves around converting the quadrotor UAV design from CAD software into a UAV model within an X-Plane simulator. Leveraging the CIFER software’s two key features—frequency domain system identification and parametric model fitting—the unstable bare-airframe dynamics are extracted for both the UAV model in X-Plane and a real-world DJI 450 UAV with the same physical configuration. This paper provides essential parameters and guidance for constructing a 92% high-fidelity dynamic model of the given UAV configuration in X-Plane. The flight test results demonstrate excellent alignment with the simulation outcomes, instilling confidence in the effectiveness of the proposed method for designing and validating new UAVs. Moreover, this approach significantly reduces the time and cost associated with the traditional design process, which requires an actual build of the UAV and many flight tests to verify the performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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22 pages, 9800 KiB  
Article
Development of an Automatic Solar Tracker Control System for a Tandem-Winged UAV and Its Implementation Strategies
by Yazdi Ibrahim Jenie, Gerald Yohanes Pardomoan and Mochammad Agoes Moelyadi
Drones 2023, 7(7), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7070442 - 05 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1523
Abstract
Solar power is a popular option for powering Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) due to its ability to provide power for long-endurance flight. However, solar-powered UAVs face challenges, including operational reliability problems. To address their operational reliability issues, this paper proposes an automatic solar [...] Read more.
Solar power is a popular option for powering Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) due to its ability to provide power for long-endurance flight. However, solar-powered UAVs face challenges, including operational reliability problems. To address their operational reliability issues, this paper proposes an automatic solar tracker system and tests two implementation strategies for controlling a tandem-winged and solar-powered UAV, developed by the Faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Institut Teknologi Bandung. Due to its unconventional configuration, a mathematical model for the UAV is developed to evaluate the vehicle’s dynamic characteristics. Based on these, three feedback control systems are designed, i.e., roll attitude control, a heading tracker, and a solar tracker. Two implementation strategies are proposed to combine the control systems, i.e., the mode-switching and the simultaneous tracking strategies. A series of simulations are then conducted to check the vehicle’s overall flight performance, as well as the gathering of solar energy. The mode-switching strategy was able to gather up to 13% more solar energy than the simultaneous strategy, which could only reach slightly above 2%. Mode-switching, however, resulted in a shorter range compared to the latter, due to the time spent in the charging mode, flying in a circular pattern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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20 pages, 7470 KiB  
Article
Automated Drone Battery Management System—Droneport: Technical Overview
by Lukáš Bláha, Ondřej Severa, Martin Goubej, Tomáš Myslivec and Jan Reitinger
Drones 2023, 7(4), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7040234 - 28 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3432
Abstract
The popularity of using vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial systems continues to rise. Although the use of these devices seems to be almost limitless, the main drawback is still the battery capacity and the need to replace or recharge it several times [...] Read more.
The popularity of using vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial systems continues to rise. Although the use of these devices seems to be almost limitless, the main drawback is still the battery capacity and the need to replace or recharge it several times per hour. This article provides a technical overview of the development of an experimental mechatronic system for automatic drone battery management called Droneport. It was developed as a system with a landing platform, automatic battery exchange and recharging outside the drone, allowing a quick return to the mission. The first part presents its mechanical design, installed instrumentation and software environment. The next part is devoted to the description of the individual hardware components, highlighting the specific problems that had to be solved to optimize size, weight and robustness requirements. The final section summarizes our observations regarding the contribution of this tool to the autonomy of drones or UAVs in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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20 pages, 5878 KiB  
Article
Drone Elevation Control Based on Python-Unity Integrated Framework for Reinforcement Learning Applications
by Mahmoud Abdelkader Bashery Abbass and Hyun-Soo Kang
Drones 2023, 7(4), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7040225 - 24 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3872
Abstract
Reinforcement learning (RL) applications require a huge effort to become established in real-world environments, due to the injury and break down risks during interactions between the RL agent and the environment, in the online training process. In addition, the RL platform tools (e.g., [...] Read more.
Reinforcement learning (RL) applications require a huge effort to become established in real-world environments, due to the injury and break down risks during interactions between the RL agent and the environment, in the online training process. In addition, the RL platform tools (e.g., Python OpenAI’s Gym, Unity ML-Agents, PyBullet, DART, MoJoCo, RaiSim, Isaac, and AirSim), that are required to reduce the real-world challenges, suffer from drawbacks (e.g., the limited number of examples and applications, and difficulties in implementation of the RL algorithms, due to difficulties with the programing language). This paper presents an integrated RL framework, based on Python–Unity interaction, to demonstrate the ability to create a new RL platform tool, based on making a stable user datagram protocol (UDP) communication between the RL agent algorithm (developed using the Python programing language as a server), and the simulation environment (created using the Unity simulation software as a client). This Python–Unity integration process, increases the advantage of the overall RL platform (i.e., flexibility, scalability, and robustness), with the ability to create different environment specifications. The challenge of RL algorithms’ implementation and development is also achieved. The proposed framework is validated by applying two popular deep RL algorithms (i.e., Vanilla Policy Gradient (VPG) and Actor-Critic (A2C)), on an elevation control challenge for a quadcopter drone. The validation results for these experimental tests, prove the innovation of the proposed framework, to be used in RL applications, because both implemented algorithms achieve high stability, by achieving convergence to the required performance through the semi-online training process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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23 pages, 4292 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Study between NMPC and Baseline Feedback Controllers for UAV Trajectory Tracking
by Bryan S. Guevara, Luis F. Recalde, José Varela-Aldás, Victor H. Andaluz, Daniel C. Gandolfo and Juan M. Toibero
Drones 2023, 7(2), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7020144 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2613
Abstract
Transport, rescue, search, surveillance, and disaster relief tasks are some applications that can be developed with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), where accurate trajectory tracking is a crucial property to operate in a cluttered environment or under uncertainties. However, this is challenging due to [...] Read more.
Transport, rescue, search, surveillance, and disaster relief tasks are some applications that can be developed with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), where accurate trajectory tracking is a crucial property to operate in a cluttered environment or under uncertainties. However, this is challenging due to high nonlinear dynamics, system constraints, and uncertainties presented in cluttered environments. Hence, uncertainties in the form of unmodeled dynamics, aerodynamic effects, and external disturbances such as wind can produce unstable feedback control schemes, introducing significant positional tracking errors. This work presents a detailed comparative study between controllers such as nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) and non-predictive baseline feedback controllers, with particular attention to tracking accuracy and computational efficiency. The development of the non-predictive feedback controller schemes was divided into inverse differential kinematics and inverse dynamic compensation of the aerial vehicle. The design of the two controllers uses the mathematical model of UAV and nonlinear control theory, guaranteeing a low computational cost and an asymptotically stable algorithm. The NMPC formulation was developed considering system constraints, where the simplified dynamic model was included; additionally, the boundaries in control actions and a candidate Lyapunov function guarantees the stability of the control structure. Finally, this work uses the commercial simulator DJI brand and DJI Matrice 100 UAV in real-world experiments, where the NMPC shows a reduction in tracking error, indicating the advantages of this formulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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17 pages, 4748 KiB  
Article
Fuzzy Gain-Scheduling Based Fault Tolerant Visual Servo Control of Quadrotors
by Tolga Yuksel
Drones 2023, 7(2), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7020100 - 31 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1561
Abstract
When military and civil missions such as transportation increase, fault tolerant control of unmanned aerial vehicles will be an obligation. Although onboard sensors provide information about the status of a quadrotor, the camera is not included in the list. In this study, visual [...] Read more.
When military and civil missions such as transportation increase, fault tolerant control of unmanned aerial vehicles will be an obligation. Although onboard sensors provide information about the status of a quadrotor, the camera is not included in the list. In this study, visual servo control of quadrotors as a popular method for motion control is addressed. we address a visual servo control system for quadrotors as a popular method for motion control. The feature motions in the image plane are analyzed to reveal the relation between the actuator faults and these motions. Four AI fault approximators, a neural network, an extreme learning machine, a linear support vector machine, and a long short-term memory are used to approximate actuator faults of a quadrotor while using feature inputs. The results are convincing and the approximation results are used by a fuzzy logic unit to provide gain-scheduling based fault tolerant control. The proposed system shows sufficient results as a visual servo system for fixed and moving feature targets while providing fault tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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19 pages, 911 KiB  
Article
Globally Attractive Hyperbolic Control for the Robust Flight of an Actively Tilting Quadrotor
by Santos Miguel Orozco Soto, Fabio Ruggiero and Vincenzo Lippiello
Drones 2022, 6(12), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6120373 - 23 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1541
Abstract
This paper addresses the problem of robustly controlling an actively tilting quadrotor UAV. The proposed technique is model-free and it is based on hyperbolic functions of the six-dimensional pose error of the UAV with respect to the world reference frame; this hyperbolic controller [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the problem of robustly controlling an actively tilting quadrotor UAV. The proposed technique is model-free and it is based on hyperbolic functions of the six-dimensional pose error of the UAV with respect to the world reference frame; this hyperbolic controller globally attracts the error signals to an ultimate bound about the origin despite external disturbances, which is proved by way of a strict Lyapunov function based analysis. The effectiveness of the controller is evaluated by means of tracking and regulation experiments on adverse conditions, which were implemented on a virtual model of the UAV through a physics-engine-based simulation environment that provides an almost identical behaviour than a real UAV. The norm of the six-dimensional error signal converged to zero for the regulation experiments, whereas for tracking it did not exceed 0.05 meters, which indicated a successful operation of the control system. In addition, the performance of the hyperbolic controller was contrasted against a nonlinear PID, which resulted in a better performance in favour of the first one, who settled the errors to zero up to eight seconds before and demanded up to 2000 less revolutions per minute from the rotors while performing the same regulation tasks. All the aforesaid successful results place the proposed technique as a competitive alternative for controlling actively tilting multirotors due to its simplicity, robustness and demonstrated effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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28 pages, 12737 KiB  
Article
High Performance Convertible Coleopter Drones
by Ronald Barrett-Gonzalez
Drones 2022, 6(11), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6110346 - 08 Nov 2022
Viewed by 3318
Abstract
This paper opens with an historical overview of efforts to develop micro-, mini-, and organic aerial vehicles (MAVs and OAVs) in the 1990’s. Although conceived during WWII, coleopters would not see serial production for 60 years. The paper continues with programmatic aspects of [...] Read more.
This paper opens with an historical overview of efforts to develop micro-, mini-, and organic aerial vehicles (MAVs and OAVs) in the 1990’s. Although conceived during WWII, coleopters would not see serial production for 60 years. The paper continues with programmatic aspects of hovering coleopter development of the 1990’s and describes the technical motivations behind in-flight conversion from hover-mode to missile-mode flight and the record-setting XQ-138 family of convertible coleopters. As the first commercially successful family of such aircraft, the XQ-138 was taken from initial concept through configuration design, detailed design, patenting, prototyping, proof-of-concept, production, flight testing, qualification, and eventually high rate production, all with private funding. The paper lists basic engineering drivers, covers fundamental sizing methods, presents weight fraction data, and describes flight test procedures, locations, conditions, and results. High-speed flight test data show the stock aircraft achieving speeds in excess of 164 mph (263 kph) with endurances in excess of an hour at that speed with a special dash-optimized version reaching 288 mph (463 kph) for a few minutes. Videos from flight testing and live-fire exercises are shown at Redstone Arsenal, Eglin Air Force Base, and Fort Benning test ranges under extreme conditions. The paper concludes with an assessment of civil and military variants for a variety of military missions and commercial uses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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27 pages, 12486 KiB  
Article
Minimal Surfaces as an Innovative Solution for the Design of an Additive Manufactured Solar-Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
by César García-Gascón, Pablo Castelló-Pedrero and Juan Antonio García-Manrique
Drones 2022, 6(10), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6100285 - 02 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2541
Abstract
This paper aims to describe the methodology used in the design and manufacture of a fixed-wing aircraft manufactured using additive techniques together with the implementation of technology based on solar panels. The main objective is increasing the autonomy and range of the UAV’s [...] Read more.
This paper aims to describe the methodology used in the design and manufacture of a fixed-wing aircraft manufactured using additive techniques together with the implementation of technology based on solar panels. The main objective is increasing the autonomy and range of the UAV’s autonomous missions. Moreover, one of the main targets is to improve the capabilities of the aeronautical industry towards sustainable aircrafts and to acquire better mechanical properties owing to the use of additive technologies and new printing materials. Further, a lower environmental impact could be achieved through the use of renewable energies. Material extrusion (MEX) technology may be able to be used for the manufacture of stronger and lighter parts by using gyroids as the filling of the printed material. The paper proposes the use of minimal surfaces for the reinforcement of the UAV aircraft wings. This type of surface was never used because it is not possible to manufacture it using conventional techniques. The rapid growth of additive technologies led to many expectations for new design methodologies in the aeronautical industry. In this study, mechanical tests were carried out on specimens manufactured with different geometries to address the design and manufacture of a UAV as a demonstrator. In addition, to carry out the manufacture of the prototype, a 3D printer with a movable bench similar to a belt, that allows for the manufacture of parts without limitations in the Z axis, was tested. The parts manufactured with this technique can be structurally improved, and it is possible to avoid manufacturing multiple prints of small parts of the aircraft that will have to be glued later, decreasing the mechanical properties of the UAV. The conceptual design and manufacturing of a solar aircraft, SolarÍO, using additive technologies, is presented. A study of the most innovative 3D printers was carried out that allowed for the manufacture of parts with an infinite Z-axis and, in addition, a filler based on minimal surfaces (gyroids) was applied, which considerably increased the mechanical properties of the printed parts. Finally, it can be stated that in this article, the potential of the additive manufacturing as a new manufacturing process for small aircrafts and for the aeronautical sector in the future when new materials and more efficient additive manufacturing processes are already developed is demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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18 pages, 4554 KiB  
Article
Robust Control Strategy for Quadrotor Drone Using Reference Model-Based Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient
by Hongxun Liu, Satoshi Suzuki, Wei Wang, Hao Liu and Qi Wang
Drones 2022, 6(9), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6090251 - 12 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2625
Abstract
Due to the differences between simulations and the real world, the application of reinforcement learning (RL) in drone control encounters problems such as oscillations and instability. This study proposes a control strategy for quadrotor drones using a reference model (RM) based on deep [...] Read more.
Due to the differences between simulations and the real world, the application of reinforcement learning (RL) in drone control encounters problems such as oscillations and instability. This study proposes a control strategy for quadrotor drones using a reference model (RM) based on deep RL. Unlike the conventional studies associated with optimal and adaptive control, this method uses a deep neural network to design a flight controller for quadrotor drones, which can map the drone’s states and target values to control commands directly. The method was developed based on a deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) algorithm combined with the deep neural network. The RM was further employed for the actor–critic structure to enhance the robustness and dynamic stability. The RM–DDPG-based flight-control strategy was confirmed to be practicable through a two-fold experiment. First, a quadrotor drone model was constructed based on an actual drone, and the offline policy was trained on it. The performance of the policy was evaluated via simulations while confirming the transition of system states and the output of the controller. The proposed strategy can eliminate oscillations and steady error and can achieve robust results for the target value and external interference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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21 pages, 5440 KiB  
Article
A Data Normalization Technique for Detecting Cyber Attacks on UAVs
by Elena Basan, Alexandr Basan, Alexey Nekrasov, Colin Fidge, Evgeny Abramov and Anatoly Basyuk
Drones 2022, 6(9), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6090245 - 06 Sep 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2290
Abstract
The data analysis subsystem of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) includes two main modules: a data acquisition module for data processing and a normalization module. One of the main features of an adaptive UAV protection system is the analysis of its cyber-physical parameters. [...] Read more.
The data analysis subsystem of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) includes two main modules: a data acquisition module for data processing and a normalization module. One of the main features of an adaptive UAV protection system is the analysis of its cyber-physical parameters. An attack on a general-purpose computer system mainly affects the integrity, confidentiality and availability of important information. By contrast, an attack on a Cyber-Physical System (CPS), such as a UAV, affects the functionality of the system and may disrupt its operation, ultimately preventing it from fulfilling its tasks correctly. Cyber-physical parameters are the internal parameters of a system node, including the states of its computing resources, data storage, actuators and sensor system. Here, we develop a data normalization technique that additionally allows us to identify the signs of a cyber-attack. In addition, we define sets of parameters that can highlight an attack and define a new database format to support intrusion detection for UAVs. To achieve these goals, we performed an experimental study of the impact of attacks on UAV parameters and developed a software module for collecting data from UAVs, as well as a technique for normalizing and presenting data for detecting attacks on UAVs. Data analysis and the evaluation of the quality of a parameter (whether the parameter changes normally, or abrupt anomalous changes are observed) are facilitated by converting different types of data to the same format. The resulting formalized CPS model allows us to identify the nature of an attack and its potential impact on UAV subsystems. In the future, such a model could be the basis of a CPS digital twin in terms of security. The presented normalization technique supports processing raw data, as well as classifying data sets for their use in machine learning (ML) analyses in the future. The data normalization technique can also help to immediately determine the presence and signs of an attack, which allows classifying raw data automatically by dividing it into different categories. Such a technique could form the basis of an intrusion detection system for CPSs. Thus, the obtained results can be used to classify attacks, including attack detection systems based on machine learning methods, and the data normalization technique can be used as an independent method for detecting attacks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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17 pages, 4210 KiB  
Article
Respiration Detection of Ground Injured Human Target Using UWB Radar Mounted on a Hovering UAV
by Yu Jing, Fugui Qi, Fang Yang, Yusen Cao, Mingming Zhu, Zhao Li, Tao Lei, Juanjuan Xia, Jianqi Wang and Guohua Lu
Drones 2022, 6(9), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6090235 - 03 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2634
Abstract
As an important and basic platform for remote life sensing, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may hide the vital signals of an injured human due to their own motion. In this work, a novel method to remove the platform motion and accurately extract human [...] Read more.
As an important and basic platform for remote life sensing, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may hide the vital signals of an injured human due to their own motion. In this work, a novel method to remove the platform motion and accurately extract human respiration is proposed. We utilized a hovering UAV as the platform of ultra-wideband (UWB) radar to capture human respiration. To remove interference from the moving UAV platform, we used the delay calculated by the correlation between each frame of UWB radar data in order to compensate for the range migration. Then, the echo signals from the human target were extracted as the observed multiple range channel signals. Owing to meeting the independent component analysis (ICA), we adopted ICA to estimate the signal of respiration. The results of respiration detection experiments conducted in two different outdoor scenarios show that our proposed method could accurately separate respiration of a ground human target without any additional sensor and prior knowledge; this physiological information will be essential for search and rescue (SAR) missions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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20 pages, 710 KiB  
Article
Adaptive Robust Control for Quadrotors with Unknown Time-Varying Delays and Uncertainties in Dynamics
by Viswa Narayanan Sankaranarayanan, Sumeet Satpute and George Nikolakopoulos
Drones 2022, 6(9), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6090220 - 25 Aug 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2386
Abstract
This article proposes an adaptive controller for a quadrotor UAV for carrying unknown payloads while tracking any trajectory. The proposed adaptive controller is robust to modeling uncertainties and does not require any a priori knowledge of the bounds of the uncertainties. The controller [...] Read more.
This article proposes an adaptive controller for a quadrotor UAV for carrying unknown payloads while tracking any trajectory. The proposed adaptive controller is robust to modeling uncertainties and does not require any a priori knowledge of the bounds of the uncertainties. The controller is also robust to time-varying delays without any constraint on the derivative of the time delay. In addition, the stability of the closed-loop system is analyzed via a Lyapunov-like method. The controller’s performance is verified using a simulated quadrotor model in MATLAB in three different scenarios with varying time delays and parametric uncertainties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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13 pages, 4496 KiB  
Article
Multimodal Fusion of Voice and Gesture Data for UAV Control
by Xiaojia Xiang, Qin Tan, Han Zhou, Dengqing Tang and Jun Lai
Drones 2022, 6(8), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6080201 - 11 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2036
Abstract
To enable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators to efficiently and intuitively convey their commands to a swarm of UAVs, we propose the use of natural and human-centric input modalities, such as voices and gestures. This paper addresses the fusion of input modalities such [...] Read more.
To enable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators to efficiently and intuitively convey their commands to a swarm of UAVs, we propose the use of natural and human-centric input modalities, such as voices and gestures. This paper addresses the fusion of input modalities such as voice and gesture data, which are captured through a microphone and a Leap Motion controller, respectively, to control UAV swarms. The obtained experimental results are presented, and the achieved performance (accuracy) is analyzed. Finally, combined human factor ergonomics test with a questionnaire to verify the method’s validity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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Review

Jump to: Research

23 pages, 11472 KiB  
Review
Decomposition and Modeling of the Situational Awareness of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Advanced Air Mobility
by Sorelle Audrey Kamkuimo, Felipe Magalhaes, Rim Zrelli, Henrique Amaral Misson, Maroua Ben Attia and Gabriela Nicolescu
Drones 2023, 7(8), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7080501 - 01 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1336
Abstract
The use of unmanned aerial aircrafts (UAVs) is governed by strict regulatory frameworks that prioritize safety. To guarantee safety, it is necessary to acquire and maintain situational awareness (SA) throughout the operation. Existing Canadian regulations require pilots to operate their aircrafts in the [...] Read more.
The use of unmanned aerial aircrafts (UAVs) is governed by strict regulatory frameworks that prioritize safety. To guarantee safety, it is necessary to acquire and maintain situational awareness (SA) throughout the operation. Existing Canadian regulations require pilots to operate their aircrafts in the visual line-of-sight. Therefore, the task of acquiring and maintaining SA primary falls to the pilots. However, the development of aerial transport is entering a new era with the adoption of a highly dynamic and complex system known as advanced air mobility (AAM), which involves UAVs operating autonomously beyond the visual line-of-sight. SA must therefore be acquired and maintained primarily by each UAV through specific technologies and procedures. In this paper, we review these technologies and procedures in order to decompose the SA of the UAV in the AAM. We then use the system modeling language to provide a high-level structural and behavioral representation of the AAM as a system having UAV as its main entity. In a case study, we analyze one of the flagship UAVs of our industrial partner. Results show that this UAV does not have all of the technologies and methodologies necessary to achieve all of the identified SA goals for the safety of the AAM. This work is a theoretical framework intended to contribute to the realization of the AAM, and we also expect to impact the future design and utilization of UAVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conceptual Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies of Drones-II)
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