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Flight control for target seeking by 13 gram ornithopter

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3 Author(s)
Baek, S.S. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA, USA ; Garcia Bermudez, F.L. ; Fearing, R.S.

Recent advances in small-scale flapping-wing micro aerial vehicles have extended the capabilities of flight control for a number of applications, such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities. In this work, we demonstrate autonomous flight control of a 13 gram ornithopter capable of flying toward a target without remote assistance. For autonomous flight control, we developed 1.0 gram control electronics integrated with a microcontroller, inertial and visual sensors, communication electronics, and motor drivers. We also developed a simplified aerodynamic model of ornithopter flight to reduce the order of the control system. With the aerodynamic model and the orientation estimation from on-board inertial sensors, we present flight control of an ornithopter capable of flying toward a target using onboard sensing and computation only. To this end, we developed a dead-reckoning algorithm to recover from the temporary loss of the target which can occur with a visual sensor with a narrow field of view. As a result, the 28 cm wing-span ornithopter flying toward a target landed within a radius of 0.5 m from the target with more than 85% success (N = 20).

Published in:

Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on

Date of Conference:

25-30 Sept. 2011

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