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Feather-inspired sensor for stabilizing unmanned aerial vehicles in turbulent conditions

Kouppas, Christos; Pearson, Martin J; Dean, Paul; Anderson, Sean


Christos Kouppas

Paul Dean

Sean Anderson


Michael Mangan

Mark Cutkosky

Anna Mura

Paul Verschure

Tony Prescott

Nathan Lepora


Stabilizing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in turbulent conditions is a challenging problem. Typical methods of stabilization do not use feedforward information about the airflow disturbances but only UAV attitude feedback signals, e.g. from an inertial measurement unit. The novel proposal of this work is the development of a feather-inspired sensor and feedforward controller that transforms from sensed turbulent airflow to feedforward control action for improving the stability of the UAV. The feedforward controller was based on fuzzy logic, combined in a feedforward-feedback loop with a standard PID control system. An experimental rig based on a one degree of freedom helicopter plant (elevation only) was developed to evaluate the potential of the sensor and control algorithm. Evaluation results showed reduction of disturbance using the fuzzy feedforward-feedback scheme, under turbulent airflow, versus a classical feedback PID-controlled system.


Kouppas, C., Pearson, M. J., Dean, P., & Anderson, S. (2017). Feather-inspired sensor for stabilizing unmanned aerial vehicles in turbulent conditions. In M. Mangan, M. Cutkosky, A. Mura, P. Verschure, T. Prescott, & N. Lepora (Eds.), Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, 230-241. Springer link

Acceptance Date Jun 16, 2017
Publication Date Jul 1, 2017
Journal Biomimetic and Biohybrid systems
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10384
Pages 230-241
Book Title Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems
ISBN 9783319635361
Keywords feather sensor, stabilization UAV
Publisher URL