Towards Bio-Inspired Robotic Aircraft: Control Experiments on Flapping and Gliding Flight
THERE is a growing interest in the aerospace community in the development of robotic micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) to learn and mimic avian flight. MAVs fly in low-Reynolds-number regimes of 103 to 105, which corresponds to that of small birds or bats . MAVs with wings equipped with multiple degrees of freedom such as flapping, wing twist, and sweep provide greater payload capability than insect-like MAVs and greater maneuverability than conventional fixed-wing aircraft. These MAVs can be used for intelligence gathering, surveillence, and reconnaissance missions in tightly constrained spaces such as forests and urban areas. Advances in actuators and control systems have led to development and analysis of articulated and flapping MAVs inspired by animals [2–5]. Birds and bats achieve remarkable stability and perform agile manuevers using their wings very effectively . One of the goals of reverse-engineering animal flight is to learn more about the various aspects of avian flight such as stability, maneuverability, and control from the dynamics of MAV.
© 2012 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. This project was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under the Young Investigator Award Program (Grant No. FA95500910089) monitored by W. Larkin. The authors would like to thank the following students from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign: Joe Kim and Nihar Gandhi.