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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P015409/1
Title: CRUISE: fault tolerant Control for highly Redundant multirotor Unmanned aerIal vehicle using Sliding modEs
Principal Investigator: Alwi, Dr H
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd University of Bristol
Department: Engineering Computer Science and Maths
Organisation: University of Exeter
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 June 2017 Ends: 30 November 2019 Value (£): 100,983
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Control Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Dec 2016 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 1 and 2 December 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Recent reports by the EU and House of Lords on the civilian use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have highlighted examples of UAV applications for civil and commercial applications, which include search & rescue, inspection and filming. In fact recent media coverage highlighted prominent companies such as Amazon, DHL and Google which are seriously considering, and testing, small UAVs for delivery services.

Despite the huge potential impact of small UAVs on civil life and commercial practices, an increase in reported UAV-related incidents (e.g. a collision with a bridge, near collisions with large passenger aircraft, and injury to an athlete) has been a major concern for regulators worldwide. At present, the commercial use of small UAVs is currently heavily restricted and regulated in the UK. Some incidents occurred due to operator shortcomings, but raise serious concerns about the safety of UAVs, especially when one considers the presence of a large number of civil and commercial UAVs flying autonomously in heavily populated areas. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop control technologies which will compensate for faults and failures, and enable the safe operation of autonomous UAVs. In fact, it is envisaged that small UAVs will embrace and implement advanced state-of-the-art fault tolerant control schemes before their manned aircraft counterparts could, partly due to their versatility and the fundamental need to ensure safety for civil and commercial applications.

This project will therefore: (1) help improve safety, resilience and survivability of small multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles in the event of in-flight faults and failures, and (2) bridge the gap between the theory and application of sliding mode control, thus encouraging adoption of sliding mode control in industry, particularly aerospace. Flight control systems will be developed for a small, highly redundant UAV for commercial and civil applications. A resilient control system, typically known as fault tolerant control (FTC), will be built based on sliding mode control (SMC) schemes. The fault tolerant schemes will initially be simulated with realistic faults/failures using a simulation tool developed in this project, then followed by hardware implementation and rigorous evaluation on a highly redundant UAV.

An important aspect of this proposal is the partnership with Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd (BBSR). Driven by industrial challenges and supported by BRL and BBSR, a rigorous assessment and evaluation campaign will be undertaken to highlight the maturation of the control schemes developed during the project. By demonstrating an increase in technology readiness level (TRL), the project will promote the adoption of these technologies in industry.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.ex.ac.uk