The scale of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) lends them to many unique applications and theyare one of the most rapidly developing areas of aerospace and aviation. Applications require flights close to the ground, and when any appreciable wind in present, atmospheric turbulence poses a significant challenge. This is significantly more challenging for MAVs than for larger UAS due to their low flight speed (including potentially hovering) and relatively low mass. It is complicated since where they will be used is in “complex” terrain such as in the vicinity of the wake of buildings, thus such flights pose a challenging operational environment for MAVs, and in particular, ensuring sufficient attitude control in the presence of significant relative turbulence.
Increasing the resilience of MAVs to turbulent conditions is therefore a key research area being addressed by RUASRT. Significant research into low speed turbulent flow aerodynamics has been exhaustively studied within the context of MAV flight. The influence of turbulence on MAV flight from an aerodynamics and control standpoint has been studied. Active attitude control systems using novel sensor technology has been successfully tested yielding prolific results. This research overlaps with the UAS Energy Harvesting project, which involves numerical and experimental characterization of the flow field around buildings.