Autonomous Aerial Recovery of Micro Air Vehicles

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-09-C-0102
Agency Tracking Number: F08A-014-0225
Amount: $99,995.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: AF08-T014
Solicitation Number: 2008.A
Small Business Information
452 South 950 East, Orem, UT, 84097
DUNS: 142406169
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Reed Christiansen
 Senior Systems Engineer
 (801) 224-5713
Business Contact
 Todd Titensor
Title: CEO
Phone: (801) 376-8099
Research Institution
 Randy Beard
 Electrical / Computer Engineer
459 Clyde Building
Provo, UT, 84602
 (801) 422-8392
 Nonprofit college or university
ddddThe objective of this project is to develop a strategy to recover micro air vehicles into a flying aircraft. Our solution combines three key technologies that have received significant research attention in recent years, namely towed cable systems, cooperative control, and vision-based terminal guidance. We propose to demonstrate the feasibility of using a flying-aircraft mothership pulling an actuated drogue using light-weight, high-strength cable to recover MAVs. When the mothership enters a constant-angular-rate orbit, the drogue drops into an orbit with the same angular rate but a much smaller radius, and therefore a significantly lower airspeed. The drogue will be actuated and have an on-board autopilot to ensure that it enters a stable, well defined, orbit. The drogue will have a mechanism to capture the MAV upon rendezvous. Cooperative control techniques will be used to bring the MAV to within capture range of the drogue. Vision-based guidance algorithms will be used during the terminal phase of the flight to maximize the probability of capture. The Phase I effort will largely consist of trade studies to enable an efficient system design during the Phase II effort. Particular emphasis will be placed on developing algorithms that are robust to wind.

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

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