Force Learning Robotic System for Dynamic Characterization of Micro-Scale Aerial Vehicles

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8651-10-M-0250
Agency Tracking Number: F093-108-0152
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: AF093-108
Solicitation Number: 2009.3
Small Business Information
4415 Euclid Avenue, Suite 500, Cleveland, OH, 44103
DUNS: 557510336
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Zak Sowle
 Aerospace Engineer
 (216) 649-0399
Business Contact
 Joseph Snyder
Title: Vice President
Phone: (216) 649-0399
Research Institution
The design process for Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAVs) requires specialized tools, which is particularly true for biologically inspired MAV concepts. Some of the positive features of a MAV, including light weight, novel modes of propulsion and non-traditional flight control methodologies, can also present challenges in the design, and testing of the final system. The interactions of a flexible structure and non-linear aerodynamics can result in biologically inspired MAV designs that have unexpected behaviors that must be understood to develop successful control methods for free flight. Unique computational tools have been developed that incorporate higher order effects as compared to the computational tools used in traditional aerospace design tools. Experimental facilities, which are used for validating the computational tools and preparing empirical models, require the same level of higher order investigation. The Orbital team proposes to create an innovative empirical measurement system that explores the higher order aerodynamic, structural and aeroelastic interactions of MAVs. A combination of mechanical robotic design and force learning software algorithms will be used to accomplish the measurement of the high frequency, highly complex behaviors of MAVs in free flight. The resulting system will act as a robotic free flight tether which allows for investigation of near real flight dynamics and behaviors. BENEFIT: Orbital Research’s role in commercialization will be the identification, design, and development of the enabling robotic system for dynamic characterization of micro-scale aerial vehicles. The availability of such a motion apparatus would be of great interest to universities and organizations which study micro-scale air vehicles. Applications of the robotic system may also extend directly to delicate medical procedures, robotic manipulation of fragile objects and delicate assembly, and even sensitive operations such as remote disarming of IEDs.

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

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