Recent breakthroughs in understanding insect flight have led to increased interest in small robotic flying aircraft which can hover and navigate through cluttered environments. MEMS inertial sensors have been an enabler in this regard. What types of additional sensors are required for autonomous flight and of what sorts of behaviors could palm-sized fliers be capable? We are performing a Multidisciplinary Design Optimization, combining constraints of propulsive technologies, powertrain efficiencies, novel sensors and communication drop-off payload to understand this space. The analysis covers 4 types of nominally 15cm diameter aircraft: a flapper, a mini-coaxial helicopter, a mini-quadrotor and a mini-rotochute.
Project end date: 07/26/10