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[R] Flappy Hummingbird: An Open Source Dynamic Simulation of Flapping Wing Robots and Animals (ICRA 2019)

Flappy Hummingbird: An Open Source Dynamic Simulation of Flapping Wing Robots and Animals

Abstract: Insects and hummingbirds exhibit extraordinary flight capabilities and can simultaneously master seemingly conflicting goals: stable hovering and aggressive maneuvering, unmatched by small scale man-made vehicles. Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicles (FWMAVs) hold great promise for closing this performance gap. However, design and control of such systems remain challenging due to various constraints. Here, we present an open source high fidelity dynamic simulation for FWMAVs to serve as a testbed for the design, optimization and flight control of FWMAVs. For simulation validation, we recreated the hummingbird-scale robot developed in our lab in the simulation. System identification was performed to obtain the model parameters. The force generation, open-loop and closed-loop dynamic response between simulated and experimental flights were compared and validated. The unsteady aerodynamics and the highly nonlinear flight dynamics present challenging control problems for conventional and learning control algorithms such as Reinforcement Learning. The interface of the simulation is fully compatible with OpenAI Gym environment. As a benchmark study, we present a linear controller for hovering stabilization and a Deep Reinforcement Learning control policy for goal-directed maneuvering. Finally, we demonstrate direct simulation-to-real transfer of both control policies onto the physical robot, further demonstrating the fidelity of the simulation.

Page with more information and video demonstrations: https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2019/Q2/hummingbird-robot-uses-ai-to-soon-go-where-drones-cant.html

Paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.09628

Code for ICRA 2019: https://github.com/purdue-biorobotics/flappy

submitted by /u/baylearn
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Toronto AI is a social and collaborative hub to unite AI innovators of Toronto and surrounding areas. We explore AI technologies in digital art and music, healthcare, marketing, fintech, vr, robotics and more. Toronto AI was founded by Dave MacDonald and Patrick O'Mara.