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Research Papers

Optimize Energy Efficiency of Quadrotors Via Arm Rotation

[+] Author and Article Information
Hao Xiong

School of Engineering Technology,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: xiong60@purdue.edu

Jin Hu

School of Engineering Technology,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: hu459@purdue.edu

Xiumin Diao

School of Engineering Technology,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: diaox@purdue.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Dynamic Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS, MEASUREMENT,AND CONTROL. Manuscript received August 28, 2018; final manuscript received March 13, 2019; published online April 9, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Ming Xin.

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 141(9), 091002 (Apr 09, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: DS-18-1404; doi: 10.1115/1.4043227 History: Received August 28, 2018; Revised March 13, 2019

Quadrotors have been used in many areas such as cargo transportation, agriculture, and search and rescue. The low energy density of power sources and the low energy efficiency of quadrotors have prevented quadrotors from a wider range of applications where a large payload has to be carried or long flight time is required. This paper optimizes the energy efficiency of a quadrotor via rotating its arms to proper positions calculated based on the dynamics model of the quadrotor and the power–thrust curve of rotors. The conditions that a quadrotor in steady-state can achieve the optimal energy efficiency are mathematically derived and the energy efficiency of a quadrotor in various scenarios is analyzed. Based on the analysis, an arm-rotation approach is proposed to optimize the energy efficiency of a quadrotor with a center-of-gravity offset in steady hovering. It is shown with simulation that an example quadrotor with rotatable arms can save up to 13% of energy. Experiments show that the same example quadrotor can save even more energy in practice, owing to the byproduct of the arm-rotation approach.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Dynamics notions of a quadrotor

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

A quadrotor prototype: (a) arms are rotatable and (b) arms are fixed

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

(a) Dynamics notations of a quadrotor prototype and (b) positions of the arm rotation axes

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Experiment setup to test the power–thrust curve of rotors

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Fig. 5

Power–thrust curve of rotors

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Regions of the bias torque in the quadrotor plane

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

The power consumptions of the quadrotor prototype

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Power consumption of the prototype with increasing bias torque along y axis

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Rotor thrusts of the prototype

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Fig. 11

Power consumption of the prototype

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Fig. 12

Roll trajectory of the prototype

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Fig. 13

Pitch trajectory of the prototype

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Fig. 14

Yaw trajectory of the prototype

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