Imperial College London

DrMirkoKovac

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Aeronautics

Reader in Aerial Robotics
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 5063m.kovac Website

 
 
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Location

 

326City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

37 results found

Zhang K, Chermprayong P, Tzoumanikas D, Li W, Grimm M, Smentoch M, Leutenegger S, Kovac Met al., 2019, Bioinspired design of a landing system with soft shock absorbers for autonomous aerial robots, JOURNAL OF FIELD ROBOTICS, Vol: 36, Pages: 230-251, ISSN: 1556-4959

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Petersen KH, Napp N, Stuart-Smith R, Rus D, Kovac Met al., 2019, A review of collective robotic construction, SCIENCE ROBOTICS, Vol: 4, ISSN: 2470-9476

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Chermprayong P, Zhang K, Xiao F, Kovac Met al., 2019, An Integrated Delta Manipulator for Aerial Repair A New Aerial Robotic System, IEEE ROBOTICS & AUTOMATION MAGAZINE, Vol: 26, Pages: 54-66, ISSN: 1070-9932

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Tzoumanikas D, Li W, Grimm M, Zhang K, Kovac M, Leutenegger Set al., 2019, Fully autonomous micro air vehicle flight and landing on a moving target using visual–inertial estimation and model-predictive control, Journal of Field Robotics, Vol: 36, Pages: 49-77, ISSN: 1556-4959

The Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) held in spring 2017 was a very successful competition well attended by teams from all over the world. One of the challenges (Challenge 1) required an aerial robot to detect, follow, and land on a moving target in a fully autonomous fashion. In this paper, we present the hardware components of the micro air vehicle (MAV) we built with off the self components alongside the designed algorithms that were developed for the purposes of the competition. We tackle the challenge of landing on a moving target by adopting a generic approach, rather than following one that is tailored to the MBZIRC Challenge 1 setup, enabling easy adaptation to a wider range of applications and targets, even indoors, since we do not rely on availability of global positioning system. We evaluate our system in an uncontrolled outdoor environment where our MAV successfully and consistently lands on a target moving at a speed of up to 5.0 m/s.

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Sareh P, Chermprayong P, Emmanuelli M, Nadeem H, Kovac Met al., 2018, Rotorigami: A rotary origami protective system for robotic rotorcraft, Science Robotics, Vol: 3, ISSN: 2470-9476

Applications of aerial robots are progressively expanding into complex urban and natural environments. Despite remarkable advancements in the field, robotic rotorcraft is still drastically limited by the environment in which they operate. Obstacle detection and avoidance systems have functionality limitations and substantially add to the computational complexity of the onboard equipment of flying vehicles. Furthermore, they often cannot identify difficult-to-detect obstacles such as windows and wires. Robustness to physical contact with the environment is essential to mitigate these limitations and continue mission completion. However, many current mechanical impact protection concepts are either not sufficiently effective or too heavy and cumbersome, severely limiting the flight time and the capability of flying in constrained and narrow spaces. Therefore, novel impact protection systems are needed to enable flying robots to navigate in confined or heavily cluttered environments easily, safely, and efficiently while minimizing the performance penalty caused by the protection method. Here, we report the development of a protection system for robotic rotorcraft consisting of a free-to-spin circular protector that is able to decouple impact yawing moments from the vehicle, combined with a cyclic origami impact cushion capable of reducing the peak impact force experienced by the vehicle. Experimental results using a sensor-equipped miniature quadrotor demonstrated the impact resilience effectiveness of the Rotary Origami Protective System (Rotorigami) for a variety of collision scenarios. We anticipate this work to be a starting point for the exploitation of origami structures in the passive or active impact protection of robotic vehicles.

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Jarvis R, Farinha A, Kovac M, Cegla Fet al., 2018, NDE sensor delivery using unmanned aerial vehicles, INSIGHT, Vol: 60, Pages: 463-467, ISSN: 1354-2575

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Goldberg B, Zufferey R, Doshi N, Helbling EF, Whittredge G, Kovac M, Wood RJet al., 2018, Power and Control Autonomy for High-Speed Locomotion With an Insect-Scale Legged Robot, IEEE ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION LETTERS, Vol: 3, Pages: 987-993, ISSN: 2377-3766

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Zhang K, Chermprayong P, Alhinai TM, Siddall R, Kovac Met al., 2017, SpiderMAV: Perching and stabilizing micro aerial vehicles with bio-inspired tensile anchoring systems, 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 6849-6854, ISSN: 2153-0858

Whilst Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) possess a variety of promising capabilities, their high energy consumption severely limits applications where flight endurance is of high importance. Reducing energy usage is one of the main challenges in advancing aerial robot utility. To address this bottleneck in the development of unmanned aerial vehicle applications, this work proposes an bioinspired mechanical approach and develops an aerial robotic system for greater endurance enabled by low power station-keeping. The aerial robotic system consists of an multirotor MAV and anchoring modules capable of launching multiple tensile anchors to fixed structures in its operating envelope. The resulting tensile perch is capable of providing a mechanically stabilized mode for high accuracy operation in 3D workspace. We explore generalised geometric and static modelling of the stabilisation concept using screw theory. Following the analytical modelling of the integrated robotic system, the tensile anchoring modules employing high pressure gas actuation are designed, prototyped and then integrated to a quadrotor platform. The presented design is validated with experimental tests, demonstrating the stabilization capability even in a windy environment.

CONFERENCE PAPER

Chen Y, Wang H, Helbling EF, Jafferis NT, Zufferey R, Ong A, Ma K, Gravish N, Chirarattananon P, Kovac M, Wood RJet al., 2017, A biologically inspired, flapping-wing, hybrid aerial-aquatic microrobot, SCIENCE ROBOTICS, Vol: 2, ISSN: 2470-9476

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Sareh S, Althoefer K, Li M, Noh Y, Tramacere F, Sareh P, Mazzolai B, Kovac Met al., 2017, Anchoring like octopus: biologically inspired soft artificial sucker, JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY INTERFACE, Vol: 14, ISSN: 1742-5689

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Siddall RJD, Kovac M, Kennedy G, High Power Propulsion Strategies for Aquatic Take-off in Robotics, International Symposium on Robotics Research 2015, Publisher: Springer, ISSN: 1610-7438

The ability to move between air and water with miniature robots would allow distributedwater sampling and monitoring of a variety of unstructured marine environments,such as coral reefs and coastal areas. To enable such applications, we are developing anew class of aerial-aquatic robots, called Aquatic Micro Aerial Vehicles (AquaMAVs),capable of diving into the water and returning to flight. One of the main challenges inthe development of an AquaMAV is the provision of sufficient power density for take-offfrom the water. In this paper, we present a novel system for powerful, repeatable aquaticescape using acetylene explosions in a 34 gram water jet thruster, which expels watercollected from its environment as propellant. We overcome the miniaturisation problemsof combustible fuel control and storage by generating acetylene gas from solid calciumcarbide, which is reacted with enviromental water. The produced gas is then combusted inair in a valveless combustion chamber to produce over 20N of thrust, sufficient to propelsmall robots into the air from water. The system for producing combustible gases fromsolid fuels is a very compact means of gas storage, and can be applied to other forms ofpneumatic actuation and inflatable structure deployment.

CONFERENCE PAPER

Sareh P, Kovac M, 2017, Robots, SCIENCE, Vol: 355, Pages: 1379-1379, ISSN: 0036-8075

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Tan YH, Siddall R, Kovac M, 2017, Efficient Aerial–Aquatic Locomotion With a Single Propulsion System, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol: 2, Pages: 1304-1311, ISSN: 2377-3766

Aerial-aquatic locomotion would allow a broad array of tasks in robot-enabled environmental monitoring or disaster management. One of the most significant challenges of aerial-aquatic locomotion in mobile robots is finding a propulsion system that is capable of working effectively in both fluids and transitioning between them. The large differences in the density and viscosity of air compared to water means that a single direct propulsion system without adaptability will be inefficient in at least one medium. This paper examines multimodal propeller propulsion using computational tools validated against experimental data. Based on this analysis, we present a novel gearbox enabling an aerial propulsion system to operate efficiently underwater. This is achieved with minimal complexity using a single fixed pitch propeller system, which can change gear underwater by reversing the drive motor, but with the gearing arranged to leave the propeller direction unchanged. This system is then integrated into a small robot, and flights in air and locomotion underwater are demonstrated.

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Sareh S, Siddall R, Alhinai T, Kovac Met al., 2017, Bio-inspired Soft Aerial Robots: Adaptive Morphology for High-Performance Flight, Soft Robotics Week - Trends, Applications and Challenges, Publisher: SPRINGER INT PUBLISHING AG, Pages: 65-74, ISSN: 2195-3562

CONFERENCE PAPER

Floreano D, Zufferey J-C, Klaptocz A, Germann J, Kovac Met al., 2017, Aerial Locomotion in Cluttered Environments, 15th International Symposium of Robotics Research (ISRR), Publisher: SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN, Pages: 21-39, ISSN: 1610-7438

CONFERENCE PAPER

Siddall R, Ancel AO, Kovac M, 2016, Wind and water tunnel testing of a morphing aquatic micro air vehicle, INTERFACE FOCUS, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2042-8898

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Siddall R, Kovac, 2016, Fast aquatic escape with a jet thruster, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, Vol: 22, Pages: 217-226, ISSN: 1083-4435

The ability to collect water samples rapidly with aerial–aquatic robots would increase the safety and efficiency of water health monitoring and allow water sample collection from dangerous or inaccessible areas. An aquatic micro air vehicle (AquaMAV) able to dive into the water offers a low cost and robust means of collecting samples. However, small-scale flying vehicles generally do not have sufficient power for transition to flight from water. In this paper, we present a novel jet propelled AquaMAV able to perform jumpgliding leaps from water and a planar trajectory model that is able to accurately predict aquatic escape trajectories. Using this model, we are able to offer insights into the stability of aquatic takeoff to perturbations from surface waves and demonstrate that an impulsive leap is a robust method of flight transition. The AquaMAV uses a CO 2 powered water jet to escape the water, actuated by a custom shape memory alloy gas release. The 100 g robot leaps from beneath the surface, where it can deploy wings and glide over the water, achieving speeds above 11 m/s.

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Kovac M, 2016, Learning from nature how to land aerial robots, Science, Vol: 352, Pages: 895-896, ISSN: 0036-8075

One of the main challenges for aerial robots is the high-energy consumption of powered flight, which limits flight times to typically only tens of minutes for systems below 2 kg in weight (1). This limitation greatly reduces their utility for sensing and inspection tasks, where longer hovering times would be beneficial. Perching onto structures can save energy and maintain a high, stable observation or resting position, but it requires a coordination of flight dynamics and some means of attaching to the structure. Birds and insects have mastered the ability to perch successfully and have inspired perching robots at various sizes. On page 978 of this issue, Graule et al. (2) describe a perching robotic insect that represents the smallest flying robot platform that can autonomously attach to surfaces. At a mass of only 100 mg, it combines advanced flight control with adaptive mechanical dampers and electro-adhesion to perch on a variety of natural and artificial structures.

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Siddall RJD, Kovac M, Bioinspired Aerial-Aquatic Mobility for Miniature Robots, 2015 International Symposium on Adaptive Motion of Animals and Machines

CONFERENCE PAPER

Low KH, Hu T, Mohammed S, Tangorra J, Kovac Met al., 2015, Perspectives on biologically inspired hybrid and multi-modal locomotion PREFACE, BIOINSPIRATION & BIOMIMETICS, Vol: 10, ISSN: 1748-3182

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Vidyasagar A, Zufferey J-C, Floreano D, Kovac Met al., 2015, Performance analysis of jump-gliding locomotion for miniature robotics, BIOINSPIRATION & BIOMIMETICS, Vol: 10, ISSN: 1748-3182

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Siddall R, Kovac M, 2015, A Water Jet Thruster for an Aquatic Micro Air Vehicle, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Publisher: IEEE COMPUTER SOC, Pages: 3979-3985, ISSN: 1050-4729

CONFERENCE PAPER

Siddall R, Kovac M, 2014, Launching the AquaMAV: bioinspired design for aerial-aquatic robotic platforms, BIOINSPIRATION & BIOMIMETICS, Vol: 9, ISSN: 1748-3182

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Kovac M, 2014, The Bioinspiration Design Paradigm: A Perspective for Soft Robotics, SOFT ROBOTICS, Vol: 1, Pages: 28-37, ISSN: 2169-5172

JOURNAL ARTICLE

Hunt G, Mitzalis F, Alhinai T, Hooper PA, Kovac Met al., 2014, 3D Printing with Flying Robots, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 4493-4499, ISSN: 1050-4729

CONFERENCE PAPER

Wen L, Lauder G, Weaver JC, Kovac M, Wood RJet al., 2013, Hydrodynamics of Self-propelling Flexible Synthetic Shark Skin Membranes, Annual Meeting of the Society-for-Integrative-and-Comparative-Biology (SICB), Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, Pages: E223-E223, ISSN: 1540-7063

CONFERENCE PAPER

Crall JD, Kovac M, Cornwall M, Wood RJ, Pierce NE, Combes SAet al., 2013, Shaping up: Aerodynamics and evolution of butterfly wing planform, Annual Meeting of the Society-for-Integrative-and-Comparative-Biology (SICB), Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, Pages: E42-E42, ISSN: 1540-7063

CONFERENCE PAPER

Kovac M, Vogt D, Ithier D, Smith MJ, Wood RJet al., 2012, Experimental flight performance evaluation of forewing orientation in butterflies, Annual Meeting of the Society-for-Integrative-and-Comparative-Biology (SICB), Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, Pages: E96-E96, ISSN: 1540-7063

CONFERENCE PAPER

Kovac M, Vogt D, Ithier D, Smith M, Wood Ret al., 2012, Aerodynamic evaluation of four butterfly species for the design of flapping-gliding robotic insects, 25th IEEE\RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Publisher: IEEE, Pages: 1102-1109, ISSN: 2153-0858

CONFERENCE PAPER

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