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Bioinspired Energy Harvesting from Atmospheric Phenomena for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Abstract : This Paper discusses energy harvesting from atmospheric phenomena for small unmanned aerial vehicles, theoretically through simulations and practically through experimental flights. A comparison between different scenarios for flight within the sinusoidal wind profile is presented. A significant improvement in performance with active control of command surfaces has been found for an energy-harvesting mode when compared to autostabilization or fixed-stick flight. Moreover, a detailed decomposition of the stochastic wind profile generated from the Kaimal spectrum has shown which frequencies and magnitudes of wind time series have the highest contribution to the energy-transfer process. It is found that wind profiles with higher turbulence intensity potentially provide more energy for transfer to the aircraft. Furthermore, the Paper reveals a biologically inspired sensory system for wind field estimation. It describes the necessary equipment and control algorithms for the exploitation of atmospheric energy. Initial flight tests were performed to determine the average power consumption of the motor for altitude hold tasks and to evaluate the performance of sensors. Moreover, additional flights for autonomous exploitation of several atmospheric phenomena are presented and analyzed.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - 2:44:21 PM
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Nikola Gavrilović, Murat Bronz, Jean-Marc Moschetta. Bioinspired Energy Harvesting from Atmospheric Phenomena for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2020, 43 (4), pp.685-699. ⟨10.2514/1.G004730⟩. ⟨hal-02917043⟩

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