The development of autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) is significantly constrained by their size, weight and power consumption. In this paper, we explore the energetics of quadrotor platforms and study the scaling of mass, inertia, lift and drag with their characteristic length. The effects of length scale on masses and inertias associated with various components are also investigated. Additionally, a study of Lithium Polymer battery performance is presented in terms of specific power and specific energy. Finally, we describe the power and energy consumption for different quadrotors and explore the dependence on size and mass for static hover tests as well as representative maneuvers.
Within the past few years micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) have received much more attention and are starting to proliferate into military as well as civilian roles. However, one of the major drawbacks for this technology currently, has been their poor endurance, usually below 10 minutes. This is a direct result of the inefficiencies inherent in their design. Often times, designers do not consider the various components in the vehicle design and match their performance to the desired mission for the vehicle. These vehicles lack a prescribed set of design guidelines or empirically derived design equations which often limits their design to selection of commercial off-the-shelf components without proper consideration of their affect on vehicle performance. In the current study, the design space for different vehicle configurations has been examined including insect flapping, avian flapping, rotary wing, and fixed wing, and their performance bounds are established. The propulsion system typical of a rotary wing vehicle is analyzed to establish current baselines for efficiency of vehicles at this scale. The power draw from communications is analyzed to determine its impact on vehicle performance. Finally, a representative fixed wing MAV is examined and the effects of adaptive structures as a means for increasing vehicle endurance and range are examined. This paper seeks to establish the performance bounds for micro air vehicles and establish a path forward for future designs so that efficiency may be maximized.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications VIII
17 April 2016 | Baltimore, Maryland, United States