This work describes a design optimization framework for a rolling-flying vehicle consisting of a conventional quadrotor configuration with passive wheels. For a baseline comparison, the optimization approach is also applied for a conventional (flight-only) quadrotor. Pareto-optimal vehicles with maximum range and minimum size are created using a hybrid multi-objective genetic algorithm in conjunction with multi-physics system models. A low Reynolds number blade element momentum theory aerodynamic model is used with a brushless DC motor model, a terramechanics model, and a vehicle dynamics model to simulate the vehicle range under any operating angle-of-attack and forward velocity. To understand the tradeoff between vehicle size and operating range, variations in Pareto-optimal designs are presented as functions of vehicle size. A sensitivity analysis is used to better understand the impact of deviating from the optimal vehicle design variables. This work builds on current approaches in quadrotor optimization by leveraging a variety of models and formulations from the literature and demonstrating the implementation of various design constraints. It also improves upon current ad hoc rolling-flying vehicle designs created in previous studies. Results show the importance of accounting for oft-neglected component constraints in the design of high-range quadrotor vehicles. The optimal vehicle mechanical configuration is shown to be independent of operating point, stressing the importance of a well-matched, optimized propulsion system. By emphasizing key constraints that affect the maximum and nominal vehicle operating points, an optimization framework is constructed that can be used for rolling-flying vehicles and conventional multi-rotors.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues