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Biomimetic Design of Morphing Micro Air Vehicles

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-16-C-0012
Agency Tracking Number: F15A-T01-0249
Amount: $149,830.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF15-AT01
Solicitation Number: 2015.0
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-04-07
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2017-02-14
Small Business Information
500 Stinson Drive
Danville, VA 24540
United States
DUNS: 079569487
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Scott Bland
 (434) 207-5180
Business Contact
 Lena Lee
Phone: (310) 850-1594
Research Institution
 University of Southern California
 Dr. Geoffrey Spedding
University of Southern Califor
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

 (213) 740-4132
 Nonprofit College or University

ABSTRACT: The goal of this STTR is to design micro air vehicles (MAVs) capable of adaptively changing wing geometry utilizing novel active materials that overcome limitations of previous attempts at implementing practical biomimetic multifunctional structures. The basic idea of a morphing aircraft wherein the vehicle changes its shape to optimally perform in multiple flight segments holds the promise of achieving unprecedented levels of efficiency. In contrast to prior efforts which focused on large aircraft, smaller UAVs weighing a few pounds or less, offer greater design freedom - bird wings morph in three dimensions with large changes in wing camber, in addition to other geometric parameters. With continuously shape changing wings, birds can efficiently deal with the different conditions encountered during flight; most importantly, we can exploit these designs to fly in urban and indoor environments, which is difficult to do with current generation MAVs. Our focus in is to use multi-functional electro-laminate technology to develop extremely lightweight and rapidly morphing wing designs. At the end of Phase I, we expect to achieve a TRL of 3 with the design validated by laboratory testing of all key subsystems and a full-scale proof-of-concept demonstration article.; BENEFIT: Successful development of a morphing MAV will go a long way towards overcoming the limitations of current MAVs - capability to operate in complex and cluttered urban and indoor environments at both high-speeds and with high maneuverability would provide radically new capabilities for the dismounted war-fighter at much reduced risk. In addition to military applications, we foresee near-term benefits to fire and rescue, disaster and accident management, mine-safety and other commercial applications. We also anticipate significant promise for the proposed technology within the Department of Homeland Security, especially for cross-border surveillance, detection, and exploitation. We also foresee scale-up the some of the component technologies to medium sized UAVs.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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