Investigation of methods for increasing the energy efficiency on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS)

Hung, Jane Yu-Chun (2011) Investigation of methods for increasing the energy efficiency on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS). Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


In recent years, development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) has become a significant growing segment of the global aviation industry. These vehicles are developed with the intention of operating in regions where the presence of onboard human pilots is either too risky or unnecessary. Their popularity with both the military and civilian sectors have seen the use of UAVs in a diverse range of applications, from reconnaissance and surveillance tasks for the military, to civilian uses such as aid relief and monitoring tasks. Efficient energy utilisation on an UAV is essential to its functioning, often to achieve the operational goals of range, endurance and other specific mission requirements. Due to the limitations of the space available and the mass budget on the UAV, it is often a delicate balance between the onboard energy available (i.e. fuel) and achieving the operational goals. This thesis presents an investigation of methods for increasing the energy efficiency on UAVs. One method is via the development of a Mission Waypoint Optimisation (MWO) procedure for a small fixed-wing UAV, focusing on improving the onboard fuel economy. MWO deals with a pre-specified set of waypoints by modifying the given waypoints within certain limits to achieve its optimisation objectives of minimising/maximising specific parameters. A simulation model of a UAV was developed in the MATLAB Simulink environment, utilising the AeroSim Blockset and the in-built Aerosonde UAV block and its parameters. This simulation model was separately integrated with a multi-objective Evolutionary Algorithm (MOEA) optimiser and a Sequential Quadratic Programming (SQP) solver to perform single-objective and multi-objective optimisation procedures of a set of real-world waypoints in order to minimise the onboard fuel consumption. The results of both procedures show potential in reducing fuel consumption on a UAV in a ight mission. Additionally, a parallel Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System (HEPS) on a small fixedwing UAV incorporating an Ideal Operating Line (IOL) control strategy was developed. An IOL analysis of an Aerosonde engine was performed, and the most efficient (i.e. provides greatest torque output at the least fuel consumption) points of operation for this engine was determined. Simulation models of the components in a HEPS were designed and constructed in the MATLAB Simulink environment. It was demonstrated through simulation that an UAV with the current HEPS configuration was capable of achieving a fuel saving of 6.5%, compared to the ICE-only configuration. These components form the basis for the development of a complete simulation model of a Hybrid-Electric UAV (HEUAV).

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ID Code: 46247
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Gonzalez, Felipe & Walker, Rodney
Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), energy efficiency
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 Sep 2011 01:06
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2015 01:50

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