Aerodynamics, Stability, Guidance, Navigation and Control of Micro-Air Vehicles: Recent Advances and Challenges

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2022) | Viewed by 22433

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Interests: nonlinear dynamics; fluid–structure interactions; MEMS/NEMS; bio-inspired robotics

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, ‎Oman
Interests: nonlinear control; adaptive control; guidance; navigation and control; autonomous vehicles; multiagent systems; cooperative control; robotic applications
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA
Interests: nonlinear and adaptive control; biorobotics application; guidance; navigation and control of nonholonomic/underactuated vehicle systems; aerospace engineering; UAV applications; intelligent control systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Micro-air vehicles (MAVs) are small, powered flying aeroelastic systems that are expected to operate in urban environments and confined spaces (e.g., inside buildings, caves, tunnels) and are also needed for inspection and maintenance of a large number of assets including infrastructures, energy generation and distribution systems, and industrial process plants. Hence, the ability of an aerial robotic system to interact physically with objects within its surroundings completely transforms the way we view applications of MAV systems in near-Earth environments. Those vehicles are equipped with sophisticated sensors to be deployed for a variety of arial manipulations. To successfully achieve the aforementioned missions, these systems need to be designed and controlled to satisfy certain performance requirements, such as high maneuverability at low speeds, hovering capabilities while manipulating objects, high lift to sustain flight, and structural strength to survive gust loads and potential shocks with obstacles. These requirements can be achieved mainly through two propulsion mechanisms: rotating helicopter blades or flapping wings. The Special Issue welcomes papers of high scientific quality addressing the aerodynamic aspects, stability characteristics, propulsion mechanisms of MAVs, theoretical and experimental investigations of novel designs, the development and demonstration of advanced control strategies for guidance and navigation for a single and multiple MAVs, new strategies, and methods for aerial manipulation and transport. 

We invite submissions on, but not limited to, the following subject areas:

  • Unsteady aerodynamics of flapping/rotating wings;
  • Propulsion mechanisms of air vehicles;
  • Navigation, guidance, and flight control;
  • Cooperative control of aerial vehicles;
  • Formation control of MAVs systems;
  • Aerial manipulation and control;
  • Machine learning for air vehicle applications;
  • Bio-inspired air vehicle designs;
  • Structural analysis of air vehicles;
  • Flight tests.

Dr. Mehdi Ghommem
Dr. Jawher Ghommam
Dr. Brahim Brahmi
Prof. Dr. Quanmin Zhu
Guest Editors

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

  • Micro-air vehicles
  • Propulsion mechanisms
  • Robust control
  • Adaptive control
  • Formation control
  • Aerial manipulation
  • Unsteady aerodynamics
  • Robotics/micro-robotics
  • Fluid–structure interactions
  • Highly flexible structures
  • Design optimization

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

18 pages, 2428 KiB  
Article
Expandable Fully Actuated Aerial Vehicle Assembly: Geometric Control Adapted from an Existing Flight Controller and Real-World Prototype Implementation
by Chuanbeibei Shi, Kaidi Wang and Yushu Yu
Drones 2022, 6(10), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6100272 - 23 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1390
Abstract
An assembly composed of multiple aerial vehicles can realize omnidirectional motion with six degrees of freedom. Such an assembly has a heavier payload capacity and better fault tolerance compared with a single aircraft. Thus, such assemblies have the potential to become an ideal [...] Read more.
An assembly composed of multiple aerial vehicles can realize omnidirectional motion with six degrees of freedom. Such an assembly has a heavier payload capacity and better fault tolerance compared with a single aircraft. Thus, such assemblies have the potential to become an ideal platform for manipulation. This paper investigates the controller design and prototype implementation for an expandable aerial vehicle assembly (AVA). The proposed AVA is composed of multiple sub-aircraft connected together via spherical joints at their center of mass. Each sub-aircraft can rotate around the spherical joint. The system dynamics of such an AVA can be separated into a slowly varying system and a fast varying system. The design criteria for a controller for this type of AVA was analyzed based on the similarity between the slowly varying system and a fully actuated rigid aircraft. This can reduce the design procedure for the controller and increase the expandability of the AVA. The stability criteria were carefully analyzed by considering the tracking error of each sub-aircraft. As an example, the controller of the AVA was designed using trajectory linearization control on the manifold, since the configuration space of the aircraft is a non-Euclidean space. A prototype composed of three quadrotors was implemented. The real-time expandable communication protocol among the different sub-aircraft was designed based on the CAN bus. Furthermore, the software and the hardware of the real-world prototype were developed. Both simulation and real-world tests were conducted, which validated the feasibility of the control design and the software implementation for an expandable assembly containing multiple aerial vehicles. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 5821 KiB  
Article
Persistent Charging System for Crazyflie Platform
by Ngoc Phi Nguyen, Bo Hye Lee, Nguyen Xuan-Mung, Le Nhu Ngoc Thanh Ha, Han Sol Jeong, Seok Tae Lee and Sung Kyung Hong
Drones 2022, 6(8), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6080212 - 18 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2104
Abstract
Nowadays, quadcopters are used widely in different applications, but their flight time is limited during operation. In this paper, a precision landing method based on a Kalman filter is proposed for an autonomous indoor persistent drone system that aims to increase the flight [...] Read more.
Nowadays, quadcopters are used widely in different applications, but their flight time is limited during operation. In this paper, a precision landing method based on a Kalman filter is proposed for an autonomous indoor persistent drone system that aims to increase the flight time of quadcopters. First, a local positioning system is used for tracking performance. Second, instead of using this local positioning system during the landing phase, a multi-ranger sensor is proposed to increase the accuracy of horizontal errors. Next, based on the relative position provided by the multi-ranger sensor, a Kalman filter technique is applied to estimate the relative velocity of the system, which is then applied to control the position of the quadcopter during the landing phase. Finally, a charging state machine law is proposed to charge the battery of three quadcopters sequentially. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed concept based on a multi-ranger sensor can enhance the accuracy of the landing phase in comparison with the conventional method. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 3106 KiB  
Article
The HDIN Dataset: A Real-World Indoor UAV Dataset with Multi-Task Labels for Visual-Based Navigation
by Yingxiu Chang, Yongqiang Cheng, John Murray, Shi Huang and Guangyi Shi
Drones 2022, 6(8), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6080202 - 11 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2647
Abstract
Supervised learning for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) visual-based navigation raises the need for reliable datasets with multi-task labels (e.g., classification and regression labels). However, current public datasets have limitations: (a) Outdoor datasets have limited generalization capability when being used to train indoor navigation [...] Read more.
Supervised learning for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) visual-based navigation raises the need for reliable datasets with multi-task labels (e.g., classification and regression labels). However, current public datasets have limitations: (a) Outdoor datasets have limited generalization capability when being used to train indoor navigation models; (b) The range of multi-task labels, especially for regression tasks, are in different units which require additional transformation. In this paper, we present a Hull Drone Indoor Navigation (HDIN) dataset to improve the generalization capability for indoor visual-based navigation. Data were collected from the onboard sensors of a UAV. The scaling factor labeling method with three label types has been proposed to overcome the data jitters during collection and unidentical units of regression labels simultaneously. An open-source Convolutional Neural Network (i.e., DroNet) was employed as a baseline algorithm to retrain the proposed HDIN dataset, and compared with DroNet’s pretrained results on its original dataset since we have a similar data format and structure to the DroNet dataset. The results show that the labels in our dataset are reliable and consistent with the image samples. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 1657 KiB  
Article
Rotor Failure Compensation in a Biplane Quadrotor Based on Virtual Deflection
by Nihal Dalwadi, Dipankar Deb and Stepan Ozana
Drones 2022, 6(7), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6070176 - 17 Jul 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1908
Abstract
A biplane quadrotor is a hybrid type of UAV that has wide applications such as payload pickup and delivery, surveillance, etc. This simulation study mainly focuses on handling the total rotor failure, and for that, we propose a control architecture that does not [...] Read more.
A biplane quadrotor is a hybrid type of UAV that has wide applications such as payload pickup and delivery, surveillance, etc. This simulation study mainly focuses on handling the total rotor failure, and for that, we propose a control architecture that does not only handle rotor failure but is also able to navigate the biplane quadrotor to a safe place for landing. In this structure, after the detection of total rotor failure, the biplane quadrotor will imitate reallocating control signals and then perform the transition maneuver and switch to the fixed-wing mode; control signals are also reallocated. A synthetic jet actuator (SJA) is used as the redundancy that generates the desired virtual deflection to control the pitch angle, while other states are taken care of by the three rotors. The SJA has parametric nonlinearity, and to handle it, an inverse adaptive compensation scheme is applied and a closed-loop stability analysis is performed based on the Lyapunov method for the pitch subsystem. The effectiveness of the proposed control structure is validated using numerical simulation carried out in the MATLAB Simulink. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 6194 KiB  
Article
Quadrotor Formation Control via Terminal Sliding Mode Approach: Theory and Experiment Results
by Ngoc Phi Nguyen, Daewon Park, Dao N. Ngoc, Nguyen Xuan-Mung, Tuan Tu Huynh, Tan N. Nguyen and Sung Kyung Hong
Drones 2022, 6(7), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6070172 - 14 Jul 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2488
Abstract
This article presents a formation tracking control method for the operation of multi-agent systems under disturbances. This study aims to ensure that the followers of a quadcopter converge into the desired formation while the center formation of the follower quadcopters tracks the leader’s [...] Read more.
This article presents a formation tracking control method for the operation of multi-agent systems under disturbances. This study aims to ensure that the followers of a quadcopter converge into the desired formation while the center formation of the follower quadcopters tracks the leader’s trajectory within a finite time. The distributed finite-time formation control problem is first investigated using the fast terminal sliding mode control (FTSMC) theory. A disturbance observer is then integrated into the FTSMC to overcome the model uncertainties and bounded disturbances. Subsequently, the Lyapunov function is proposed to ensure the stability of the system. It is shown that formation tracking control can be achieved even in the presence of disturbances. Simulation and experimental results verify the effectiveness of the proposed formation tracking control method compared to existing ones. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 4722 KiB  
Article
Sobel Potential Field: Addressing Responsive Demands for UAV Path Planning Techniques
by Raouf Fareh, Mohammed Baziyad, Tamer Rabie, Ibrahim Kamel and Maamar Bettayeb
Drones 2022, 6(7), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6070163 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1730
Abstract
Dealing with the trade-off challenge between computation speed and path quality has been a high-priority research area in the robotic path planning field during the last few years. Obtaining a shorter optimized path requires additional processing since iterative algorithms are adopted to keep [...] Read more.
Dealing with the trade-off challenge between computation speed and path quality has been a high-priority research area in the robotic path planning field during the last few years. Obtaining a shorter optimized path requires additional processing since iterative algorithms are adopted to keep enhancing the final optimized path. Therefore, it is a challenging problem to obtain an optimized path in a real-time manner. However, this trade-off problem becomes more challenging when planning a path for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system since they operate in 3D environments. A 3D map will naturally have more data to be processed compared to a 2D map and thus, processing becomes more expensive and time-consuming. This paper proposes a new 3D path planning technique named the Sobel Potential Field (SPF) technique to deal effectively with the swiftness-quality trade-off. The rationale of the proposed SPF technique is to minimize the processing of potential field methods. Instead of applying the potential field analysis on the whole 3D map which could be a very expensive operation, the proposed SPF technique will tend to focus on obstacle areas. This is done by adopting the Sobel edge detection technique to detect the 3D edges of obstacles. These edges will be the sources of the repulsive forces while the goal point will be emitting an attractive force. Next, a proposed objective function models the strength of the attractive and repulsive forces differently to have various influences on each point on the map. This objective function is then optimized using Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) to find an obstacle-free path to the destination. Finally, the PSO-based path is optimized further by finding linear shortcuts in the path. Testbed experimental results have proven the effectiveness of the proposed SPF technique and showed superior performance over other meta-heuristic optimization techniques, as well as popular path planning techniques such as A* and PRM. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

27 pages, 7923 KiB  
Article
Flow-Induced Force Modeling and Active Compensation for a Fluid-Tethered Multirotor Aerial Craft during Pressurised Jetting
by Shawndy Michael Lee, Wei Hien Ng, Jingmin Liu, Shen Kai Wong, Sutthiphong Srigrarom and Shaohui Foong
Drones 2022, 6(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6040088 - 28 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3198
Abstract
This paper presents an investigation of the fluid–structure interaction (FSI) effects on the stability of a quadrotor attached to a flexible hose conveying and ejecting pressurised fluid from an onboard nozzle. In this study, an analytical solution is derived to obtain the time [...] Read more.
This paper presents an investigation of the fluid–structure interaction (FSI) effects on the stability of a quadrotor attached to a flexible hose conveying and ejecting pressurised fluid from an onboard nozzle. In this study, an analytical solution is derived to obtain the time and spatial responses of the free end, which could affect the quadrotor’s stability. First, the flow-induced force model was simulated at the hose plane to find out the contributing disturbances prior to the physical connection with the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Thereafter, the flow-induced forces were introduced to the UAV dynamics model as disturbances to study the FSI response during flight. Physical experiments were conducted to compare the analytical responses of the UAV prior to and during ejection. The presented findings of the perturbations due to the FSI effect from the pressurised fluid flowing through the flexible hose to the free end and the jet reaction at the UAV nozzle will be used for the employment of a combined feedforward-feedback (FF-FB) quadrotor control strategy for a stable ejection phase. The proposed strategy shows an average improvement of 61.14% (x-axis) and 22.46% (z-axis) in terms of active position compensation during ejection as compared to a standard feedback (FB) control loop only. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 1567 KiB  
Article
Biplane Trajectory Tracking Using Hybrid Controller Based on Backstepping and Integral Terminal Sliding Mode Control
by Nihal Dalwadi, Dipankar Deb and Jagat Jyoti Rath
Drones 2022, 6(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6030058 - 24 Feb 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2797
Abstract
A biplane quadrotor is a hybrid type of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that has advantages of both fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs. In this study, we design controllers using (i) Backstepping Control (BSC), (ii) Integral Terminal Sliding Mode Control (ITSMC), and (iii) Hybrid control [...] Read more.
A biplane quadrotor is a hybrid type of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that has advantages of both fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs. In this study, we design controllers using (i) Backstepping Control (BSC), (ii) Integral Terminal Sliding Mode Control (ITSMC), and (iii) Hybrid control (ITSMC + BSC), where the ITSMC controls attitude and BSC controls the altitude subsystems as per the mathematical model of biplane quadrotor. The performance of these controllers is evaluated based on the autonomous trajectory tracking containing all possible maneuvers and operation modes that the biplane quadrotor can perform. Performance analysis reveals that the BSC-based controller is susceptible to a steady-state error in altitude tracking when mass is changed. In contrast, the ITSMC and the “hybrid” controllers achieve smooth tracking in a finite time. Furthermore, the “hybrid” controller outperforms the other designs, reducing tracking error and faster convergence time. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 5565 KiB  
Article
Role of Active Morphing in the Aerodynamic Performance of Flapping Wings in Formation Flight
by Ethan Billingsley, Mehdi Ghommem, Rui Vasconcellos and Abdessattar Abdelkefi
Drones 2021, 5(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5030090 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2211
Abstract
Migratory birds have the ability to save energy during flight by arranging themselves in a V-formation. This arrangement enables an increase in the overall efficiency of the group because the wake vortices shed by each of the birds provide additional lift and thrust [...] Read more.
Migratory birds have the ability to save energy during flight by arranging themselves in a V-formation. This arrangement enables an increase in the overall efficiency of the group because the wake vortices shed by each of the birds provide additional lift and thrust to every member. Therefore, the aerodynamic advantages of such a flight arrangement can be exploited in the design process of micro air vehicles. One significant difference when comparing the anatomy of birds to the design of most micro air vehicles is that bird wings are not completely rigid. Birds have the ability to actively morph their wings during the flapping cycle. Given these aspects of avian flight, the objective of this work is to incorporate active bending and torsion into multiple pairs of flapping wings arranged in a V-formation and to investigate their aerodynamic behavior using the unsteady vortex lattice method. To do so, the first two bending and torsional mode shapes of a cantilever beam are considered and the aerodynamic characteristics of morphed wings for a range of V-formation angles, while changing the group size in order to determine the optimal configuration that results in maximum propulsive efficiency, are examined. The aerodynamic simulator incorporating the prescribed morphing is qualitatively verified using experimental data taken from trained kestrel flights. The simulation results demonstrate that coupled bending and twisting of the first mode shape yields the highest propulsive efficiency over a range of formation angles. Furthermore, the optimal configuration in terms of propulsive efficiency is found to be a five-body V-formation incorporating coupled bending and twisting of the first mode at a formation angle of 140 degrees. These results indicate the potential improvement in the aerodynamic performance of the formation flight when introducing active morphing and bioinspiration. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop