This video introduces the Flying Platform, a flying machine built at IDSC, ETH Zurich. Its purpose is to study the control of flying machines actuated by electric ducted fans. Flaps attached at the exit nozzle of each fan can vector the thrust, which are then used to control the machine. Ducted fans are useful for applications where size is limited and high static thrusts are required. Examples include aerial vehicles capable of VTOL, hovercrafts or even actuated wingsuit flight (see e.g. http://www.idsc.ethz.ch/research-dandrea/research-projects/actuated-wingsuits.html).
In addition, the Flying Platform is used for benchmarking novel control strategies that account for actuation limits. In particular, the flaps are limited to a range of approximately 18°. Control algorithms explicitly accounting for this limitation can provide larger stability margins and other performance enhancements. We are currently investigating model predictive control algorithms. The idea is to explicitly exploit the physical model of the system, including input and state constraints, for making model-based predictions. Since these methods are computationally expensive, we seek to trade off the prediction accuracy with computational cost and quantify the consequences of such approximations.
It weighs approximately 7.6kg and has a payload of around 3kg. The electric ducted fans consume roughly 5.3kW at hover (120A at 44V).
Lead Researchers: Michael Muehlebach and Raffaello D'Andrea
Electrical/Mechanical Design: Marc-Andrè Corzillius and Michael Egli
This work was supported by the ETH-Grant 0-20125-15.
For more details visit: http://www.idsc.ethz.ch/research-dandrea/research-projects/flying-platform.html