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An Experimental Study of Wind Resistance and Power Consumption in MAVs with a Low-Speed Multi-Fan Wind System

by   Diana A. Olejnik, et al.

This paper discusses a low-cost, open-source and open-hardware design and performance evaluation of a low-speed, multi-fan wind system dedicated to micro air vehicle (MAV) testing. In addition, a set of experiments with a flapping wing MAV and rotorcraft is presented, demonstrating the capabilities of the system and the properties of these different types of drones in response to various types of wind. We performed two sets of experiments where a MAV is flying into the wake of the fan system, gathering data about states, battery voltage and current. Firstly, we focus on steady wind conditions with wind speeds ranging from 0.5 m/s to 3.4 m/s. During the second set of experiments, we introduce wind gusts, by periodically modulating the wind speed from 1.3 m/s to 3.4 m/s with wind gust oscillations of 0.5 Hz, 0.25 Hz and 0.125 Hz. The "Flapper" flapping wing MAV requires much larger pitch angles to counter wind than the "CrazyFlie" quadrotor. This is due to the Flapper's larger wing surface. In forward flight, its wings do provide extra lift, considerably reducing the power consumption. In contrast, the CrazyFlie's power consumption stays more constant for different wind speeds. The experiments with the varying wind show a quicker gust response by the CrazyFlie compared with the Flapper drone, but both their responses could be further improved. We expect that the proposed wind gust system will provide a useful tool to the community to achieve such improvements.


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