Hermes - Wind Energy Harvesting Wireless System for Sensing AoA and Wind Speed

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Abstract

In this letter, we present Hermes - a novel, low-cost, wireless, batteryless, energy harvesting system for aerial vehicles for sensing wind speed and Angle of Attack (AoA) concurrently. Hermes comprises a set of piezoelectric films which flutter due to incoming wind and the characteristics of this aeroelastic flutter are utilized for determining the wind speed and AoA of the head-wind. Note that in our work we restrict the notion of flutter to high frequency oscillations due to incoming air flow. Hermes consists of five piezoelectric flags that are mounted on rigid clamps specifically placed at different angles. We designed Hermes to maximize the sensing performance and energy harvesting capability simultaneously, without compromising either accuracy or harvesting efficiency. Our current prototype can harvest the power of 440 $\mu$W on average. Over a wide range AoA from $-10^{\circ }$ to $30^{\circ }$, the estimation of the wind speed is within 0.7 km/h error with 90% probability, and AoA error is within $1.2^{\circ }$ with 90% probability. Since Hermes necessitates no wires and batteries and is a low-cost sensor, it is well suited for a range of UAVs, gliders, and aircraft, which require flexible sensor placement and do not require new wiring, which is often complex in aircraft. Hermes is the first of its kind that exploits piezoelectric energy harvesting to simultaneously sense AoA and wind speed. This work is expected to open up new avenues for interdisciplinary research on embedded computing devices for aerospace applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9488279
Pages (from-to)7097-7104
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Aerial Systems: Applications
  • Aircraft
  • Embedded Systems for Robotic and Automation
  • Energy harvesting
  • Robot sensing systems
  • Sensor Networks
  • Sensors
  • Wind speed
  • Wind tunnels
  • Wireless communication

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