FlowDrone: Wind Estimation and Gust Rejection on UAVs Using Fast-Response Hot-Wire Flow Sensors

Nathaniel Simon, Allen Z. Ren, Alexander Pique, David Snyder, Daphne Barretto, Marcus Hultmark, Anirudha Majumdar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are finding use in applications that place increasing emphasis on robustness to external disturbances including extreme wind. However, traditional multirotor UAV platforms do not directly sense wind; conventional flow sensors are too slow, insensitive, or bulky for widespread integration on UAVs. Instead, drones typically observe the effects of wind indirectly through accumulated errors in position or trajectory tracking. In this work, we integrate a novel flow sensor based on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) hot-wire technology developed in our prior work [1] onto a multirotor UAV for wind estimation. Our sensor is omnidirectional (in the plane), lightweight, fast, and accurate. In order to achieve superior hover performance in windy conditions, we train a 'wind-aware' residual-based controller via reinforcement learning using simulated wind gusts and their aerodynamic effects on the drone. In extensive hardware experiments, we demonstrate the wind-aware controller out-performing two strong 'wind-unaware' baseline controllers in challenging windy conditions. See: youtu.be/KWqkH9Z-338.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - ICRA 2023
Subtitle of host publicationIEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages5393-5399
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9798350323658
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Event2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2023 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: May 29 2023Jun 2 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Volume2023-May
ISSN (Print)1050-4729

Conference

Conference2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period5/29/236/2/23

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence

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