Ground Mobility and Landing Gear for a Bird-Sized Perching Micro Air Vehicle (MAV)

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF 09-002
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Design Intelligence Incorporated, LLC
350 David L. Boren Blvd, Suite 1780, Norman, OK, 73072
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
James Grimsley
President / CEO
(405) 307-0397
Business Contact:
James Grimsley
President /CEO
(405) 307-0397
Research Institution:
The development of micro air vehicles (MAVs) will provide a military capability that has never before been fully realized. Technology developments in areas such as vehicle morphing and energy harvesting will enable greater mission capabilities in terms of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) - including "close-in ISR" and "personal ISR", as well as lethality capabilities and signals intelligence (SIGINT). The current Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) MAV vision includes plans to develop a "bird-like" MAV by the year 2015 that is capable of "perch and stare" missions. When the MAV arrives at a mission station it will "perch" much like an actual bird lands and perches. A critical components for perching is the landing gear mechanism necessary to accomplish perching on a variety of surfaces and environments. Limited ground mobility is desirable for purposes such as energy harvesting (EH), sensor alignment, and assisted takeoff. The proposed Phase I research will develop multiple engineering design concept variants that utilize innovative bio-inspired principals from bird anatomy, innovative use of advanced actuator technology, as well as innovative robotics concepts to develop landing gear that can enable perching and limited ground mobility. Whenever possible, DII will utilize modular design concepts that enable broad mission capabilities. BENEFIT: Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) represent the most dynamic growth sector in the aerospace industry today. The total market size is expected to be between $40 billion and $60 billion by the year 2018. The proposed research, if successful, could provide significant breakthroughs and advantages for MAV operational capabilities. A successful outcome of this Phase I effort will result in technology that can be utilized by the DoD and other government agencies as well as the commercial sector. Advanced landing gear technology that supports UAVs/MAVs is useful to the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy for various mission needs. These types of UAVs/MAVs can also be used by other agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior, and others. It is important to note that the technology in this proposal is not limited to UAS applications. The concepts developed during the Phase I effort could have applications in other areas of robotics, automation, and medical prosthetics.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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