ICARUS: RobotIcally Controlled RADAR inspired WiReless Charging for/from Flying UAV PlatformS


The project aims to investigate and implement two scenarios. Wireless charging of flying UAVs using robotically controllable RF beam forming and the wireless charging of batteryless "green" RFID-enabled humidity sensors from a wireless power transmitter mounted on a flying UAV.

First the robotically controlled transmitters will be implemented. These ground-based transmitters will detect the position of the flying UAV and will focus the transmitted power on that target. Upon the completion of the UAV receiver customization the wireless charging from the robotically controlled transmitters will be experimentally studied in controlled environment to identify limitations related to the UAV’s speed, velocity direction, or height changes. For the experimental testing the high-ceiling gym will be used, where the UAV with the retro-directive array can be suspended in controlled height. The next design step requires the customization of a commercially available, remote-controlled UAV, with the circuit features to allow: 1) backscattering in retro-direction, 2) efficient RF-to-DC power conversion, 3) transmitter to provide the wireless power to charge ground-based sensors. This 3rd feature will be implemented on a different UAV. In other words, there will be a “WPT receiver UAV” with features 1 and 2 and a “WPT transmitter UAV” with feature 3. In order to facilitate WPT the sensing nodes should be equipped with energy harvesting circuit. The implementation of a “green” nearly fully-recyclable, compact in size, humidity sensor with embedded RF-energy harvesting circuit is the next investigated topic. Novel additive fabrication techniques will be exploited for the implementation of the recyclable-shell, and conformal rectenna required for a compact “green” humidity sensor. The two scenarios will be theoretically studied and the customized “green” humidity sensors with energy harvesting capabilities will be tested in a greenhouse environment. ICARUS is expected to have impact in UAV related Transport systems and Agriculture.

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