Stability and maneuverability in flying and swimming drones in multi-agent interactions using bio-inspired control systems

PI: Amin Mivehchi

Co-PI(s): Keith Moored

University: Lehigh University

Industry partner: AeroTargets International

Remotely controlled or autonomous aerial/underwater vehicles are becoming a prominent tool across many industries, especially for tasks that are repetitive or dangerous to humans, or otherwise not cost-effective. These “Drones” are used in surveying the ocean, military surveillance, and exploring deep sea or planetoids. The next generation of these devices may be used in collective operations in waterway management to inspect infrastructures, such as the piers of bridges, dams, and locks, for both routine maintenance and during disaster recovery efforts, search and rescue operations, infrastructure micro repairs and environmental disinfection against pollutants or toxic invasive species. To be used in these applications, next-generation aerial and underwater vehicles should be able to work in a collective, be highly maneuverable, and have high control authority to navigate precisely in highly dynamic environments such as in shallow waterways or the wake of windmills. Bio-inspired underwater and micro aerial vehicles are ideally suited to address these needs. The key to having such a capability in these “Drones” is (1) a design that is dynamically stable in harsh environments and (2) the capability to do extreme maneuvers to avoid a collision, perform stability, or complete operational tasks. Bioinspired devices are designed to be capable of high maneuverability because of their active control, but their control authority is dependent on their dynamic stability. Our goal with the proposed work will be to design dynamically stable and highly maneuverable bio-inspired underwater/aerial vehicles that are capable of working in a collective and operating in a rapidly changing environment.