May 22, 2015

Coordinated Launching of an Ornithopter With a Hexapedal Robot

(May 22, 2015)  Abstract— In this work, we develop a cooperative launching system for a 13.2 gram ornithopter micro-aerial vehicle (MAV), the H2Bird, by carrying it on the back of a 32 gram hexapedal millirobot, the VelociRoACH. We determine the necessary initial velocity and pitch angle for take off using force data collected in a wind tunnel and use the VelociRoACH to reach these initial conditions for successful launch. In the wind tunnel predicted success region, we were able to complete a successful launch for 75 percent of the 12 trials in that region. Although carrying the H2Bird on top of the VelociRoACH at a stride frequency of 17 Hz increases our average power consumption by about 24.5 percent over solo running, the H2Bird, in turn, provides stability advantages to the VelociRoACH. We observed that the variance in pitch and roll velocity with the H2Bird is about 90 percent less than without. Additionally, with the H2Bird flapping at 5 Hz during transport, we observed an increase of 12.7 percent of the steady state velocity. Lastly, we found that the costs of transport for carrying the H2Bird flapping and without (6.6 and 6.8) are lower than the solo costs of transport for the VelociRoACH and for the H2Bird (8.1 and 10.1).

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