LUMINATI AEROSPACE INNOVATIONS
for High-Altitude, Long-Endurance UAV’s
ENERGY HARVESTING FROM WIND GUSTS
• Perpetual flight is not possible with Solar-Electric. Battery power density not predicted to be adequate for 7-10 years.
• Luminati-invented wind energy harvesting algorithms and autopilots are a major enabling technology allowing perpetual flight
• We are able to harvest energy from horizontal and vertical gusts or gradients in the wind field.
• UAV propulsion power requirements can be significantly reduced, and even eliminated, under realistic wind gust conditions thus removing poor battery power density as the limiting factor.
VORTEX SEEKING ADAPTIVE CONTROL
• Birds fly in V-formation to provide up to 30% drag reduction.
• Luminati has developed high-performance algorithms and autopilots for vortex seeking, formation flying. Reductions in drag on trailing aircraft of up to 60% are being realized.
• Luminati’s inventive vortex seeking technology, and specialized autopilot design for this application, are a major enabling technology allowing perpetual flight.
COMPOSITE FABRICATION TECHNOLOGY
(Ultra-lightweight, ultra high strength)
• Woven composite strength is directly proportional to the number and density of criss-crossing nodes in the woven fiber.
• Luminati has developed unique non-crimp fiber designs and process equipment to produce structures, which have close to the theoretical limit of strength.
• Luminati composites are stronger and lighter than composites that can be produced by any other group.
• Founder Daniel Preston’s composite technology has been on display in the Smithsonian Museum opposite the 1903 Wright flyer as an example of state of the art then and now. It has also been featured in the Cooper Hewitt, Metropolitan and Wexner museums.
AERODYNAMIC FLOW CONTROL USING VIRTUAL SURFACE MODIFICATION
• Luminati is pioneering virtual morphing wings. In place of conventional slow moving large mechanical surfaces, Luminati is utilizing arrays of synthetic jets to morph the apparent shape of a wing.
• Distributed control surfaces: thousands of synthetic jets across the wing provide high response rates and redundancy for flight control.
• Allows controlled aero elastic deformation and gust load alleviation. This is an enabling technology to safely flying very large lightweight flexible aircraft.
• Very high bandwidth response increases the amount of energy that can be harvested from wind gusts.
NEURAL NETWORK BASED ADAPTIVE AUTOPILOT DESIGN FOR UAV ROTORCRAFT
• Flight-testing for model identification is expensive and must be performed for many flight conditions to be useful for reliable autopilot design. This rarely can be afforded in low cost UAV applications requiring a wide range of mission oriented requirements.
• Model uncertainty is much greater in rotorcraft UAV applications where rotor sensitivity to wind disturbances, the need for greater agility, and payload variations as a fraction of total mass is much greater.
• The uncertainty associated with modeling these effects can be overcome applying adaptive methods in the design of the flight control system combined with direct feedback of rotor response to wind disturbances.
• Current research explores the use of advanced neural network based learning algorithms in adaptive flight control design to rapidly adapt to uncertainty in both vehicle dynamics and wind disturbances.