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Aeroelastic analysis and control of bio-inspired UAVs for engineering applications

Abstract

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been often used for several applications, such as engineering, military and entertainment. In particular, insect-like and bird-like UAVs have demonstrated a huge potential for developing a new generation of aerial vehicles, with high efficiency and versatility for different missions. However, the aeroelastic characteristics of these vehicles are not well known yet. In this context, this present research project investigates the aeroelastic dynamics of micro and small bio-inspired UAVs. The research is focused on developing aeroelastic models for insect-like and bird-like vehicles, including both structural flexibility and aerodynamics effects. The project also comprises developing new controllers to keep the UAV on pre-defined trajectories. The controllers are based on linear matrix inequalities because they allow one to obtain optimal gains by formulating the control design by using convex optimization. The research considers engineering applications involving payload transportation with a flight formation with multiple UAVs, as well as border monitoring, which usually requires high time of flight. Then, solar cells are distributed into the UAVs to generate electrical energy and recharge the batteries during the flight. The research involves the design, manufacturing and assembling of bio-inspired UAVs, and wind tunnel and in-flight tests are carried out to demonstrate the approaches developed to describe the aeroelastic behavior of this type of aerial vehicles. (AU)

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