Centroidal Aerodynamic Modeling and Control of Flying Multibody Robots

Flying vehicles propose a lot of problems for researchers, such as inspection via passive Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) systems. A recent paper on arXiv.org presents an approach that considers advanced aerodynamic modeling techniques for the conception of simplified models then used online for the control of flying multibody robots.

The jet-powered humanoid robot iRonCub. Image credit: arXiv:2205.08301 [cs.RO]

The jet-powered humanoid robot iRonCub. Image credit: arXiv:2205.08301 [cs.RO]

Researchers propose a framework to include aerodynamic forces in the modeling and control design of high degrees of freedom VTOL systems. A series of computational fluid dynamics simulations are performed to generate a dataset of the aerodynamic forces acting on the robot for a given flight envelope. Then, the aerodynamic characteristics in between the flight envelope are estimated.

The model is used to improve the flight-control strategy by compensating the aerodynamic forces and improvement of the controller robustness.

This paper presents a modeling and control framework for multibody flying robots subject to non-negligible aerodynamic forces acting on the centroidal dynamics. First, aerodynamic forces are calculated during robot flight in different operating conditions by means of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis. Then, analytical models of the aerodynamics coefficients are generated from the dataset collected with CFD analysis. The obtained simplified aerodynamic model is also used to improve the flying robot control design. We present two control strategies: compensating for the aerodynamic effects via feedback linearization and enforcing the controller robustness with gain-scheduling. Simulation results on the jet-powered humanoid robot iRonCub validate the proposed approach.

Research article: Hui, T., “Centroidal Aerodynamic Modeling and Control of Flying Multibody Robots”, 2022. Link: https://arxiv.org/abs/2205.08301

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