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We describe the design of an aerial robot inspired by birds and the underlying theoretical developments leading to novel control and closed-loop guidance algorithms for a perching maneuver. A unique feature of this robot is that it uses wing articulation to control the flight path angle as well as the heading angle. It lacks a vertical tail for improved agility, which results in unstable lateral-directional dynamics. New closed-loop motion planning algorithms with guaranteed stability are obtained by rewriting the flight dynamic equations in the spatial domain rather than as functions of time, after which dynamic inversion is employed. It is shown that nonlinear dynamic inversion naturally leads to proportional-integral-derivative controllers, thereby providing an exact method for tuning the gains. The capabilities of the proposed bioinspired robot design and its novel closed-loop perching controller have been successfully demonstrated with perched landings on a human hand.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2013