Study Towards a Flapping Robot Maintaining Attitude During Gliding

Muhammad Labiyb Afakh, Hidaka Sato, Naoyuki Takesue


The bio-inspired robot is such a topic that has received growing attention. The ornithopter micro aerial vehicle (MAV) is one of the challenging topics belonging to bio-inspired robots. This topic combines the research disciplines of Biology, robotics, and aeronautics. Energy efficiency is one of the advantages offered by a flapping robot. To reduce the power consumption, such a flapping robot can glide to perform locomotion. We investigated and developed a flapping robot with tail control to maintain robot attitude during performing locomotion/flight, especially gliding. The proposed tail structure mimics an airplane elevator. Lightweight materials and design are considered in this study. The system is designed to allow the robot to have wireless long-range control. The robot can be controlled from a base station wirelessly via Wi-Fi connection. This study presents a comparison between a small wing with good stiffness and a large wing with less stiffness. The small wing with good stiffness is better and it could generate thrust 1.56 times higher than the large wing. Leading and trailing edges bending of a large wing during flapping can be a possibility source of induced drag. Gliding performance was also evaluated. Robot could glide up to 8 meters in 2 seconds at 0.9 meters altitude. The developed robot demonstrated an aggressive flight that reached close to 5 m/s. The developed tail mechanism and controller were confirmed that it helps the robot to perform maintaining its attitude and recovering from a stall within a few milliseconds.


Bio-inspired robot; flapping robot; ornithopter; tail control; micro aerial vehicle

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