National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Determining the Size, Strength and Scope of a Quadcopter’s Grou...
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Published on: Mar 3, 2016


  • 1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Determining the Size, Strength and Scope of a Quadcopter’s Ground EffectDetermining the Size, Strength and Scope of a Quadcopter’s Ground Effect National Aeronautics and Space Administration Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) applications have typically been limited to short term, short range fly-by missions with fixed-wing UAVs. The Native American Research Team (NART) has designed a proof-of-concept model with integrated solar and wind technology to address the short term flight limitations. To extend flight times and distances the UAV is equipped with in-flight re-charging capability via solar cells and loop wing wind turbines. Additionally, it is configured to operate its own ground-based portable charging station allowing for multi-day missions over longer distances. Abstract Data Acquisition and Reconnaissance in variable environments: An eco-friendly Unmanned Areal Vehicle that has the ability to make environmental and scientific observations over long term missions. Mission • How to counteract energy consumption? • What design will be most efficient and maneuverable? • Will solution to energy consumption disrupt flight? • How will data be received? • Future? Questions The proof-of-concept quadrotor was designed using off-the-shelf components. Renewable energy systems will provide stable flight for 30 minutes and land in a pre- determined location to enter a charging/data transmission mode. After recharging, it will "hop" from waypoint to waypoint as needed. Hypothesis Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) examinations illustrated that the presence of the loop wing wind turbines will not interfere significantly with the lifting and directional rotors. The downward mounted motors' downwash do not impinge upon the loop wing nor does the loop wing turbulence affect the motors. Simulation Proof-of-Concept H-Frame quadrotor chosen for mountable area Proof-of-concept designed with Rhino 3D CAD software Concept model dimensions: 24" x 36" with a top deck area of 144 square inches Suitable for: • hostile environments such as the polar regions, extraterrestrial • environmental monitoring • agricultural monitoring • wildlife management Discussion Dr. William Warmbrodt - NASA, Aeromechanics Branch Chief Larry Young - NASA, Aeromechanics Branch design Engineer Needa Lin - NASA, Mechanical Engineer Intern Gary Brandt - Northwest Indian College, Native American Research Team Mentor Unmanned Multirotor Applications of Renewable Energy Systems for Variable Environments Acknowledgments NART: Native American Research Team Wayne Yandell, Jessica Williams, Kirsch Davis, Gabriel Brien, Faye Clawson, Joshua Danny Conclusion A large-scale vehicle with mounted solar cells and wind generators could fly (with stability) various missions in a "hop-charge/read- hop" method for a variety of applications. For a vehicle that matches the mission objective and specific functional requirements of various environments with minimal charging time, a frame large enough to house the necessary solar panels and wind generators would have to be constructed with lightweight materials and large bottom mounted propellers for efficient long-distance flights between charging. With further developments in power storage, solar/wind, and autonomous control technology as well as customization per application, this method should be unquestionably more effective than fixed-wing UAV's with standard fossil fuel or electric propulsion systems for autonomous low- altitude measurement and delivery in most conceivable environments.

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