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VITO

Aerospace engineering BSc thesis
Technion — Israel Institute of Technology
ROLES
Hardware and software simulation
Control design
Flight experiment design and execution
ADVISOR
Dr. Isaac Kadushin
TEAM
Lead: Shir Kozlovsky
Tal Goldberg
Roni Yonash
Niv Zuckerman
Dor Gonda
Yuval Geyari
STATUS
Completed in 2019

VITO was a three-year long project handed down yearly from one team to another in the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Technion, Israel, serving each as a group thesis project. I participated in the final year of VITO's development, which focused on full system simulation to be used in software and control design, leading to a series of flight experiments and culminating in free flight.

The unmanned aircraft's configuration is a ducted fan, which consists of a single rotor within an airfoil-shaped duct (essentially, a rounded and closed wing), its control surfaces placed at the duct's trailing edge. This design allows for a relatively compact vehicle, capable of hovering and omnidirectional flight.

During this project I was in charge of the 6DOF simulation of the system, which integrated experimental results and accounted for real-world hardware limitations and performance, and of control design. Additionally, I wrote flight software, including its deployment to the hardware, signal processing and implementation of safety features. I participated in all flight experiments, supporting them closely with analysis and live software adjustments.

Several of the flight experiments. On the left, the vehicle is connected to an arm limiting several degrees of freedom in order to test, tune and verify a simplified system before moving on to full flight. In the two other experiments VITO is tethered as a safety precaution, restricting it from reaching the edges of the room.

Free flight tests, showcasing VITO's intended outdoor use including hovering and lateral locomotion. The emergency tether is minimally taut to avoid it entering the duct, and its effect on the system is negligible unless pulled by an operator.

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