Research Log

Sun, 04/04/2021


Adaptive Control Experiments and Flight Tests (ACEFiT) 

E. Yamaguchi1, A. AlShareef1, A. Goel2, S. Ravela1, and D. Bernstein2

1 Earth Signals and Systems Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2 Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan

Test: 4/3/21 @ 1630hrs - 1930hrs 

Important: Refer to dropbox for system log (4-3).




Wed, 03/31/2021

Adaptive Control Experiments and Flight Tests (ACEFiT)

E. Yamaguchi1, A. AlShareef1, A. Goel2, S. Ravela1, and D. Bernstein2

1: Earth Signals and Systems Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2: Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan

Test: 3/30/21
Important: Refer to dropbox for system log.

Summary: Several flights with ApparenticsSTS rewired with PX4/RFD900 in nominal configuration. Hold...

Wed, 12/17/2014

When we started using hobby aircraft  for adaptive atmospheric sampling in 2011, in contrast to static flight plans,  we settled on the X8 after some involved study of a variety of hobby aircraft ("foamies"). We demonstrated its use in  the first autonomous plume hopper that we know in existence to map plume energies. Following experiments, we presented results at AIAA (2013) and in several PI meetings/workshops before and after. The case we made was for a foamie that suited the small scale field experiments in adaptive atmospheric sampling (clouds, plumes, thermals etc.): ~10km range, ~2hr endurance (at best), ~2kg payload etc.

Other groups were interested in similar scales, notably a CU  Boulder aeronautics group. As we pointed out the advantages of our approach at a...

Tue, 04/01/2014

Nick Roberts and Sai Ravela

Over the last year or so, we have been working up on various mods on the standard airframe including:

  1. Kevlar reinforced wings for high stress environments.
  2. Motor mount w/ damping and spar coupling for improved resilience.
  3. Vertical control surfaces for yaw control.
  4. Wings extension to 3m wingspan for increased lift with flaps/air brakes.
  5. Launch points for catapult launches.
  6. Nose redesign for sensing.

These mods are disclosed on this blog and freely available. Here we document the twin tail system with synchronized rudder control is developed using NACA-1414 airfoil and  Hitec Servos. The tail surfaces are made from Spyder Surfboard foam. This foam was selected because...

Sun, 03/30/2014

The number of UAS uses in Conservation Biology is exploding. Often far away from "civilization", silent unmanned aircraft can quietly track wildlife, map the land and provide the data for new models of population, movement or  migration. Our methodological projects involving adaptive mapping, tracking and and individual identification found a home in a collaboration with Princeton, UIC and the Mpala Research Center to develop targeted wildlife observing systems. Katelyn Wolfenberger, who is now working on Lightfield imaging by drone for her thesis, coined the term "Wings over Wildlife" for our wings over wildlife endeavors, including:

  1. Land-surface mapping with synthetic aperture
  2. Adaptive Tracking and Modeling of movement
  3. ...
Tue, 02/04/2014

Here is Yet Another POPO trip (YAPOPO!):



Getting out and about

Returning Home


And the bird's eye


More pictures to follow here:

Mon, 02/03/2014

There is much demand for the use of sUAS to monitor, conserve and protect wildlife. Our work combines the animal biometic search engine (Sloop) with Cooperative Autonomous Observing System research (CAOS) to produce SloopFlyer, a realtime biometric tracking system for conservation. Based on the several requests we have received, it appears that Biologists, Systems Biologists, Ecologists and Population Biologists are all very excited; so are we. Read on.

A brief informal survey among biologists indicates that the Quad rotor (or hex and octal variants) is a common platform. Quads are readily available, and easy to transport, launch and recover. In other ways, however, they appear to not be suitable....

Mon, 09/30/2013


Sunrise at Paso de Cortes is a sight to behold as the majestic snow-capped Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl peaks come into view. We have to hurry, there are only few hours left before the window closes into a fog, rain and even hail-filled afternoon. After a quick breakfast prepared by Joaquin, Baruc and Ruben head out to pre-flight Salvatierra. We had just suffered a fatal crash of Budapest,  now laid to rest, so this is extra significant. We had to quickly put together a new ESC and prop, hoping now that the motor will hold for the few minutes of climbout that is needed to establish a steady climb to target.


Sat, 08/31/2013

Anyone into flying in the real world will tell you that all the beautiful "flying shots" are typically preceded by much preparation and numerous "uhoh" moments. Here, a few of our own...




Like this one...

That's why we use foamies...




We've had such fun so far in  "the process" that we thought putting some photos and videos of the developmental work wouldn't be...

Wed, 07/31/2013

Admit it...every time you looked at a smokestack you've wondered what it does to the environment. You wished you could map the structure of the plume and follow the puffs. Small UAS' can be made to do that, and much more, using a dynamic data-driven mapping paradigm. There's much more sophisticated language for the intuitive concept of DDDAS, but the essence of the idea is to sample, then resample based on information that your sensors have gathered. This symbiosis is where the magic is. Examples follow of a  Markov Chain Monte-Carlo adaptive sampling, but make sure you are in a glide (and if that's not possible, maintain trim!) on the sampling flight path... Here are some pix for you!