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Distributed Flight Array of Autonomous Flying Vehicles

Jaber Abedin, Rini Akmeliawati


Vertical Take-off and Landing vehicles (VTOL) have gained widespread popularity among researchers in aerial vehicles because of the unique capabilities they possess such as vertical stationary flight and maneuverability due to their inherent dynamic nature. This has resulted in many beneficial and unique applications for both military and civilian purposes. Despite heightened interest in VTOL vehicles, research in this area until now has focused almost exclusively on rotorcraft platforms such as Quadrotors. Very little research has been performed in extending the design of VTOL vehicles to a multirotor platform consisting of individual flight modules using distributed control. In this project, a multi-rotor platform consisting of modular flight vehicles using distributed control has been designed which has been designated the Distributed Flight Array (DFA). The individual modules are able to communicate and coordinate with each other to fly in a variety of flight formations either as individual units flying in formation in a coordinated fashion or as larger units by physically combining and docking with each other. A distributed strategy for hover control based on the physical parameters of the DFA formed the basis of the flight control of the DFA. An estimator was used to obtain the state of the system. The unique design of the Distributed Flight Array gives it many unique advantages over conventional rotorcrafts such as significantly greater resilience to catastrophic on-board failure, greater optimization and flexibility.

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