BERKELEY SOLAR DRONE University of California, Berkeley

Quan Nguyen, Albert Ou, Zachary Hargreaves, Brian Kim Faculty Advisor: Dr. Michel Maharbiz
Challenge Description
The problem of long-endurance flight has yet to be adequately solved with
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Conventional powertrains are typically
disadvantaged by limited capacities for non-renewable fuels, but in theory a
renewable energy source would permit self-sustaining flight.
Project Scope
This team intends to demonstrate extended flight times using an autonomous
solar-powered UAV:
Ability to obtain additional energy from external sources during flight
Insufficient densities exhibited by current technologies for energy storage
Autonomous control to maintain stable and level flight in a holding pattern
Circumvent human fatigue
Rapid response to changing conditions
Potential for more precise flight path over the long term
Fixed-wing aircraft with a 3-meter wide wingspan
Maximize lift force at relatively low velocities
Maximize area for solar cell arrays
Potential Use Cases
A variety of civil applications would benefit from a long-endurance aerial platform
that can be easily augmented with diverse payloads:
Remote sensing and Earth observation: Forest fire mapping, crop
assessment, monitoring of industrial infrastructure
Emergency response: communication relays, search and rescue
Scientific research: meteorology, ecology, astronomy, archaeology
Power Subsystem
The Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT) acquires input power from the solar
cells and output a proper supply voltage for the rest of the electronics.
DC-DC boost converter more efficient than buck-boost or cuk converters
under low light conditions
Near-linear relationship between duty cycle and output voltage for most of
the V-D curve
Airfoil
Gentle Lady wing cross-section:
Image source: http://manuals.hobbico.com/gpm/gpma1960-manual.pdf
Systems Architecture
Low-Level
Autopilot
ATmega328
I
2
C
High-Level
Autopilot
IFC9402-01 (Atom)
NMEA 0183
parser/buffer
ATtiny44a
GPS
LS20031
IMU
L3G4200D/LSM303DLM
MPPT
ATtiny44a
UART AR600 RX
PWM
WDT
ATtiny13a
MUX
74157CT
PWM
PWM
Servos
ESC
Motor
Control Surfaces
UART
XBee
Airframe
Gentle Lady sailplane outfitted with a brushless motor
Low-Level Autopilot
R(t)
yaw drift
detection
GPS
eψ(t)

dt Ki
Kp
roll-pitch drift
detection
accelerometer
eφ,θ(t)

dt Ki
Kp
gyroscope
ω
DCM update and renormalization
Tait-Bryan angles control surface deflections
Direction Cosine Matrix (DCM): roll φ, pitch θ, yaw ψ
R(φ, θ, ψ) = Rx(φ)Ry (θ)Rz (ψ)
=


cos θ cos ψ sin φsin θ cos ψ −cos φcos ψ cos φsin θ cos ψ + sin φsin ψ
cos θ sin ψ sin φsin θ sin ψ + cos φcos ψ cos φsin θ sin ψ −sin φcos ψ
−sin θ sin φcos θ cos φcos θ


Integrating infinitesimal rotations:
R(t + dt) = R(t)

1 −dψ dθ
dψ 1 −dφ
−dθ dφ 1

Tait-Bryan angles:
θ = sin
−1
(R31)
ψ = tan
−1
(R21/R11)
φ = tan
−1
(R32/R33)
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Avionics Hardware
Attitude Control System production setup:
Atmel ATmega328 microcontroller
Pololu 66-Channel LS20031 GPS receiver
Pololu MiniIMU-9 gyro, accelerometer,
and magnetometer (L3G4200D and
LSM303DLM Carrier)
Digi XBee Series 1 with wire antenna
Inforce SYS9402-01 development board
Custom PWM signal multiplexer
Custom maximum power point tracker
Spektrum DX5e 2.4 GHz transmitter and
AR600 receiver
Skyartec BMC-35A electronic speed
control (ESC)
Turnigy 2200 mAh 3S Li-Po battery
Performance
Main loop executes at 100 Hz with 15% worst-case processor utilization
Maximum power of 3.42 W at 0.581 V and 5.9 A per individual C60 cell
Simple DC-DC boost converter is 52% efficient
Conclusion
Despite the resource constraints on this project, this team was able to establish
the feasibility of creating a 3-meter wingspan plane capable of flying itself and
providing for its own power supply. With additional resources, such as more solar
cells, flight times could be extended to allow for multiple-day flight.
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the faculty, staff, and students at the University of
California, Berkeley for their guidance and support. There are many others not at
the University who provided valuable information for our work; we would like to
express our gratitude to them as well.
Cornell Cup USA, 4 May 2012 – 5 May 2012
Light Basin Laboratory 〈solar-uav@lists.berkeley.edu〉 Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

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