Conceptual design of a blended-wing-body tilt-arm hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle

Rosa Abnous, Chen Zeng, Souma Chowdhury, Victor Maldonado, Peter Mancuso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The need for multi-functional unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations (e.g., in disaster response), or for adapting to varying conditions, have given rise to hybrid UAVs. Of particular interest are hybrid platforms that provide some combination of VTOL, hovering, and long-range flight capabilities, by operating in and transitioning between distinct flight states. This paper proposes a new hybrid UAV that seeks to address the drawbacks (e.g., rotor under-usage and cross-wind vulnerability) of existing designs (tilt-rotor/tilt-body/tilt-wing), and thereby provide increased operational flexibility. This UAV, called the BWB-Integrated Transitioning UAV or BITU, comprises a pair of tilt-arms (with two rotors mounted on the ends) that can rotate about shafts; the latter are integrated into the wing tips of the blended wing body (BWB). A conceptual design framework is developed to explore the feasibility/performance of BITU, which includes numerical mass and inertia estimation, aerodynamic analysis, and simulation and control of the state transition dynamics. Two design case studies are performed using mixed-discrete PSO. The optimal designs of BITU are found to provide competitive combinations of weight (< 5.5kg), payload capacity (2kg specified), hovering endurance (20min @ 40km roundtrip range), and forward flight range (> 270 km), and substantial improvement over the baseline.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication58th AIAA/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, 2017
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624104534
StatePublished - 2017
Event58th AIAA/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, 2017 - Grapevine, United States
Duration: Jan 9 2017Jan 13 2017

Publication series

Name58th AIAA/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, 2017

Conference

Conference58th AIAA/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, 2017
CountryUnited States
CityGrapevine
Period01/9/1701/13/17

Keywords

  • Blended-wing-body (BWB)
  • Hover to forward flight transition
  • Hybrid un- manned aerial vehicle (UAV)
  • Particle swarm optimization
  • Vortex lattice method

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