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UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are the latest leap into the field of applied robotics. These robust robots can either consist of a framed carrier vehicle or an independent assembly that is capable of both guided and often autonomous flight. The size of the vehicles can depend on the assembly used and the purpose intended for a particular vehicle. Certain military-oriented drones have changed the face of modern warfare in the past 13-14 years with remotely controlled carpet bombers taking the lead. Keeping that track in mind, the current project explores quadrotors, which are essentially UAVs constructed with a four-motor assembly that operate together to successfully manoeuvre the aircraft into giving roll, pitch and yaw based movements. This assembly gives superior manoeuvrability since the assembly allows for omnidirectional movement of the aircraft, special control over the hovering capability and the added benefit of having perfect stability mid-fight.
Quadcopters are an integral part of the modern UAV industry and have come in all kinds of sizes to date. Mostly, the size of the aircraft is determined by the use intended and thus, miniaturized versions of a few centimetres wide to full blown 10 foot square quadrotors are also available with varying degrees of thrusts and control elements. Generally, the control of the aircraft is determinedby the power of the motors, the resilience of the control design and most of all, the stability offered by the assembly of the aircraft itself.
Quadcopters are quite popular in the recent years because of the many advantages they offer over conventional design of aircrafts. They tend to be much more stable than other formations because the control of four motors for the thrust and balance is quite simpler as compared to trooper or helicopter schemes. On the other hand, they are also popular because of the relatively simpler control systems that are required for the flight of quadrotors. Some of the simplest design protocols are involved in the quadrotor design which primarily depend on the imagination and finesse of the design engineer. Their uses vary from aerial photography to surveillance. Recently, quadrotors have even been employed for delivering light-weight cargo over intra-city-wide distances. Furthermore, even if a crash occurs, the motors and the different assemblies that connect the aircraft can easily be replaced or fixed. This formation allows for a much safer journey overall.
Quadcopters are relatively new devices and therefore, the research done in the manufacture and control of the said devices is not very extensive either. In order to develop our understanding of the devices and the research that has been conducted on them, we had to visit both the scholarly papers written by different researchers over the years on the control elements of the quadcopters as well as the different pages and hobby websites all over the internet to get a more detailed understanding of quadcopters.
A quadcopter can be considered as an aircraft that is held together by four fixed rotors that are placed at opposing corners of a square. The main craft is held together by the central assembly in the middle which usually houses the controller of the craft as well as the sensing assemblies of the copter. Most of the quadcopters used in the research phase are somewhat the very same structure of four motors connected to a platform in mostly an evenly spaced stable fashion.
History of Flight
Considering the early history of flight, the propellers used were not vertically oriented but were oriented horizontally and created thrust by the speed generated by the thrust generated by the movement of the rotors and the air underneath the wings of the aircraft. The first formation of a vertical copter craft can be considered to be the early models of helicopters. They had two rotors, one horizontal and one vertical, used for attaining thrust and direction of the aircraft. Some of the very early forms of aircraft were tried in the 1920s and 1930s. These vehicles are considered some of the very first ones that attained the heavier than air vertical flight take off vehicles with manual flight control. But the early designs had very little stability and had too much pilot intervention to the designs to be controllable and actually viable as vehicles for long-term flight control.
Manufacture of Quadcopters
The manufacture of the quadcopters of different sizes also to some extent depends on the technology offered at a particular time. With powerful controllers on a miniaturized scale, powerful motors and preise sensors, one is able to control the flight of the quadrotor on a smaller scale. Similarly, when the size constraint gets big enough, the next burden is due to the design and thrust produced by motors. The bigger the size of the aircraft, the heavier it gets, and the more difficult it becomes to carry via simple thrust and motors. In order to accomplish the design element of such scale, tests are carried out through software such as AutoCAD to test the mechanical efficiency of the design for control purposes.
Quadcopter Design Elements
Quadcopters are the most popular design technique for propeller design due to many unique advantages offered by their design. The design is not only inherently symmetrical, it also embodies one of the simplest possible designs required out of the roll, pitch and yaw operations carried out by the average quadcopters. In order to observe such operations, the motor speed is varied using the electronic speed controller. Different operations such as hovering, ascending and descending are also carried out using the dual-motor change operations that change the velocity of more than two motors at the same time. Because of the inherent operational design of the Quadcopter, the control elements designed through the use of microcontroller are much more rigorous and easily controlled as compared to their tri-copter counterparts. They are capable of full 3-D motion and dead hover capability, which is far tougher to achieve in a tri-copter design.
Because of their relatively inexpensive formation, they are produced much more easily and can be scaled to long-term scaled production capability. Because of their ability to scale weight and having a uniform centre of gravity, their functions are only limited by payload size and imagination of the operator. They have been used for surveillance, patrolling and a variety of other useful operations.
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