First Flight Of 'Robo Raven' Called 'Major Breakthrough' For Micro Air Vehicles | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

AMA Drone Report

Airborne-Monday

Airborne-Tuesday

Airborne-Wednesday

Airborne-Thursday

Airborne-Friday

Airborne-Unmanned w/AUVSI

Airborne On ANN

AMA 10.19.17

Airborne 10.16.17

Airborne 10.17.17

Airborne 10.18.17

Airborne 10.19.17

Airborne 10.20.17

Airborne-Unmanned 10.17.17

Airborne-YouTube

AMA 10.19.17

Airborne 10.16.17

Airborne 10.17.17

Airborne 10.18.17

Airborne 10.19.17

Airborne 10.20.17

Airborne-Unmanned 10.17.17

NEW!!! 2017 AirVenture Innovation Preview -- YouTube Presentation / Vimeo Presentation

Thu, May 02, 2013

First Flight Of 'Robo Raven' Called 'Major Breakthrough' For Micro Air Vehicles

Robotic Bird's Independently Controllable Wings Makes More Realistic Flight Maneuvers Possible

University of Maryland Professors S. K. Gupta and Hugh Bruck and their students have developed and demonstrated a new robotic bird, "Robo Raven," whose wings flap completely independently of each other, and also can be programmed to perform any desired motion, enabling the bird to perform aerobatic maneuvers. This is the first time a robotic bird with these capabilities has been built and successfully flown.

What makes building robotic birds so difficult? Not only is there a long trial and error process, but every error leads to a crash, often one that is fatal to the robot. This makes design iterations painfully slow.

Gupta, a professor in Mechanical Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research in the A. James Clark School of Engineering, has been working on flapping-wing robotic birds for the better part of a decade. He and his graduate students, along with Mechanical Engineering Professor Hugh Bruck, first successfully demonstrated a flapping-wing bird in 2007. This bird used one motor to flap both wings together in simple motions. By 2010 the design had evolved over four successive models. The final bird in the series was able to carry a tiny video camera, could be launched from a ground robot, and could fly in winds up to 10 mph—important breakthroughs for robotic micro air vehicles that one day could be used for reconnaissance and surveillance. It even fooled a local hawk, which attacked the robot in mid-flight on more than one occasion.

But the limitation of simultaneous wing flapping restricted how well the robotic bird could fly. So Gupta decided to tackle the much thornier problem of creating a more versatile bird with wings that operated independently, just like real birds. An unsuccessful attempt in 2008 led to the project being shelved for a while. Then, in 2012, Gupta partnered with Bruck and their graduate students to try again.

"Our new robot, Robo Raven, is based on a fundamentally new design concept," Gupta says. "It uses two programmable motors that can be synchronized electronically to coordinate motion between the wings."

The challenge was that the two actuators required a bigger battery and an on-board micro controller, which initially made Robo Raven too heavy to fly. "How did we get Robo Raven to 'diet' and lose weight?" Gupta asks. "We used advanced manufacturing processes such as 3D printing and laser cutting to create lightweight polymer parts."

But smarter manufacturing and lighter parts were only part of the solution. The team did three more things to get Robo Raven airborne. They programmed motion profiles that ensured wings maintained optimal velocity while flapping to achieve the right balance between lift and thrust. They developed a way to measure aerodynamic forces generated during the flapping cycle, enabling them to evaluate a range of wing designs and quickly select the best one. Finally, the team performed system-level optimization to make sure all components worked well together and provided peak performance as an integrated system.

"We can now program any desired motion patterns for the wings," Gupta says. "This allows us to try new in-flight aerobatics—like diving and rolling—that would have not been possible before, and brings us a big step closer to faithfully reproducing the way real birds fly."

Funding for the robotic birds project has been provided by the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Army Research Laboratory, and the Army Research Office. The Clark School is also working on the Gamera II project in an effort to win the Sikorsky Prize for a human-powered helicopter.

(Images: Top, Robo-Raven in flight. Bottom, independent wing assembly. Photos courtesy of the University of Maryland)

FMI: www.eng.umd.edu

Advertisement

More News

RFP: ANN Seeking New Site/Facility For Major Studio Upgrade

It's Official: Aggressive Upgrades For New Airborne Programs WILL Require New Digs It's been in development for years, but we're getting to a point where we think we can pull off s>[...]

Airborne 10.19.17: 200th TBM 900-Series, MooneyShares, E-AB Accident Stats

Also: Supersonic Test, Kobe Steel, Sullenberger Awarded, A-29 Super Tucanos, Textron, 109th AW CDR Daher recently rolled out its 200th TBM 900-series very fast turboprop aircraft s>[...]

AMA Drone Report 10.19.17: Drone/Airliner Midair?, FAA Sued, CNN 107 Waiver

Also: Swedish Drone Ban Lifted, Rocky Mountain Hobby-Expo, Drone Shark Detection, Kittyhawk DJI Sync 2.0 Recent reports about a midair collision between a jet and a drone have been>[...]

Airborne-Unmanned 10.17.17: Eagles v Drones, DJI AeroScope, Drone Policy

Also: AeroVironment Award, Washington State Patrol, Altavian Nova UAS, Robotaxis The French Military is training four Golden Eagles to attack drones in flight as a way to defend ag>[...]

Airborne 10.20.17: Santa Monica Setback, Red Bull Aviatrix, C-49 Flies Again

Also: HondaJet World Tour, Barnstorming, SpaceX, Dauntless, Fixed-Wing VTOL, Gravitational-Waves, Swedish Drones The City of Santa Monica may now proceed with shortening the runway>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2017 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC