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-prepared by Pranab Prusty(13489)

This report is an attempt to explain the details pertaining to the research and work done in
designing, building and test flying the Spherical VTOL UAV.
Most modern UAVs are either in the form of either fixed wing airplanes, helicopters and
multirotors . But, all of them have some limitations in terms of their application in confined
space environment. The conventional fixed wing aircraft is limited by its inability to hover
above a fixed location, requirement of a minimum airspeed to sustain lift and limited access to
small areas due to its size and wingspan. Similarly ,the helicopter variants and multi rotors are
limited by the vulnerability of their blades to damage on collision with obstacles while
travelling in confined areas .The multirotors also have more motors and require a large
electrical output,reducing their endurance.
Thus with a design aim to address all these limitations, the first Spherical VTOL Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle of kind was announced by the Japanese Ministry of Defence in the middle of
2011. It has an all up weight (AUW) of 350 grams, a diameter of 42 centimetres. Built with the
intention of carrying a surveillance camera and to be operated within confined spaces or over
disaster sites for search and rescue, it has the ability to collide with obstacles without damaging
its critical propulsion or control system as they are protected within the exterior spherical cage.
Because the exterior is round, it is able to land in any attitude and roll along the ground. This
newly shaped UAV allows the propellers to be encased within spherical-shaped struts, which
enables the UAV to fly into obstacles without damaging the propeller. This also makes it safe
for the pilot, as well as, anyone in the vicinity. Running only on a single propeller-motor
configuration, the UAV is able to hover, climb vertically, and transit into translation flight,
which is similar to that of a helicopter.
The aerodynamics component of the UAV was first dissected by using equations to prove the
pitch, roll and yaw motion. The control surfaces were then optimised using Computational

Fluid Dynamics software during the design stages, and its results were confirmed by various
experiments and flight tests conducted.
Yaw Control

The yaw motion is controlled by four set rudders which have

been programmed to move concurrently when the signal is
received. The torque effect from the counter-clockwise motion
of the propeller causes the body of the UAV to rotate anticlockwise (about the Z-axis), causing the UAV to yaw. In
order to counter the inherent yaw motion due to the moving
propellers, the rudders must be activated at an angle at its
default trim position.

Pitch Control
The pitch motion (about the Y-axis) is controlled by two out of
four flaps and four rudders, which have been programmed to
activate in a specific orientation to cause the motion, as shown.
With the Center of Gravity (CG) on the midline of the UAV,
the top two flaps move in opposite directions to the bottom
rudders to create a torqueing effect, thereby allowing the UAV
to pitch in the desired direction.

Roll Control
Roll motion of the UAV is basically same as that of pitch motion as the UAV is constructed
symmetrically along the x-axis and y-axis.


Coefficient of Lift, Cl e


Cl vs AOA (o)


Cd vs AOA (o)

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
AOA, (o)

SolidWorks Flow Simulation is used to

investigate the lift and drag forces at
Ve of 13.2m/s while varying the AOA.
The highest Lift Coefficient, Cl, can be
observed at approximately 40 degrees,
from Graph of Cl vs AOA. Also, from
Graph of Cd vs AOA, it can be
observed that Cd increases with can be concluded that at AOA
of less than 40 degree, there will be
enough lift force to cause a resulting
increase in altitude since the drag
experienced is also lower at smaller


For a fixed spherical UAV diameter of 420mm,

the maximum chord length of the flap is 58.5mm.
The velocity of airflow, Ve, just below the
propeller, is taken to be 13.2m/s at throttle setting
of 50%, which is the approximated cruising speed.
Results showed that for a smaller chord length,
there was only a slight decrease in the lift-to-drag
ratio. However, the resulting Lift force is reduced,
compromising on the resulting pitching moment,
which is undesirable. Instead, the maximum
allowable chord length of 58.5mm produced the
highest Lift-to-drag ratio. Therefore, the most
suitable chord length of the flap is limited to the
diameter of the sphere at 58.5mm.

To achieve the highest lift-to-drag ratio, the size of the flaps and rudders were optimised. This
ensured that enough lift force is generated by both the flaps and the rudders to provide sufficient
pitching moment for translation flight, and the size of the rudders is sufficient to counter the
inherent yaw motion caused by the propeller.


Motor and propeller
The propulsion system consists of the combination of motor and propeller used to provide thrust
for the aircraft. The motor selection depends primarily on the AUW of the craft and the size of
the motor mount and propeller clearance available. The Turnigy L2215 brushless motor with an
APC 10x.4.7inch propeller combination is selected for the project as it has the highest
efficiency results compared to other motor/propeller combinations conducted in the motor tests.
It also produced the maximum thrust of 900 grams, required to give a thrust to weight ratio of
1.5 times.
Electronic speed controller
The electronic speed controller (ESC) is a device used to control the motors speed and to
provide the motor with three phase electric power and to AC current from the DC battery
source. A sequence of signals is sent to the 3-phase brushless motor which then controls its
speed.Two ESCs were short listed from the wide range of brands available. The first is the
Multiplex BL27, the second is the Hobbywing Skywalker 20A. Given that the motor selected
can only draw a maximum of 16 amperes, the Skywalker 20A is sufficient. Moreover, the
Skywalker has an added advantage of a lighter weight. Given that the Hobbywing Skywalker is
cheaper, weighs less and is sufficient for the projects requirement, it is the ESC selected.
Battery Eliminator Circuit
The battery eliminator circuit (BEC or uBEC) is a voltage regulator device used to supply 5
volts to the other electronic equipment. Typically, the ESC would have an in-built voltage
regulator to supply the other electronics with the 5 volts required. However, the limit is up to 4
servos and 1 receiver of load. In the case of this projects circuit design; 6 servos, a receiver and
a flight control board are used, the ESCs in-built voltage regulator would not be able to handle
the load requirements. To counter this limitation, the BEC is introduced into the system. It
works in parallel with the ESC and supplys the electronics with the required power while the
ESC only works to supply the motor with power and control the motors speed. The BEC

required for this project must be capable of providing 3 Amperes at 5 Volts to the control board
which in turns supply the servos with electrical power. As there are two common types
available: 5V, 3A and 6V,8A variants, the Hobbywing 5V, 3A version is chosen due to its
smaller size, lighter weight and lower cost.
Battery(Power Source)
There are two main types of batteries available for use in radio controlled crafts. The first being
Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-Mh) batteries, the second being Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) batteries.
As a comparison, for the same capacity and voltage, the Ni-Mh has a higher weight and size as
compared to its Li-Po equivalent. A selected Ni-Mh 4 cell pack has a weight of 117grams,
dimensions of 67x44x17 mm and provides 1000mAh capacity at 4.8 volts (Each cell has a
nominal voltage of 1.2V). The Li-Po equivalent weighs just 30 grams, dimension of 71x35x6
mm and provides 1000mAh capacity at 4.2volts for one cell. For this project, a Li-Po battery
will be used due to the higher capacity to weight ratio.
Flight Control Board
KK2 FLIGHT CONTROL BOARDThis board Is suitable for the development of the UAV as it has the customizable options
available in its setup. It can read 5 inputs (throttle, pitch, roll, yaw, and mode) and can output up
to 8 signals which can either be a motor or servo. Each output can be programmed individually
to adjust the amount it reacts to the signal(s) it receives. Each output can be programmed to
respond to one or multiple inputs. the KK2 board senses pitch, roll, and yaw orientation. It has
the ability to be customised such that each servo connected to an output pin will be able to react
to a combination or pitch, roll, and/or yaw signals, depending on the mix that has been
programmed into the system. The KK2 receives signals from the receiver and sends the
appropriate pitch, roll, and yaw commands to the appropriate servos. The KK2 board would
also send correcting output-signals that would self-right the UAV after proper tuning.
The motor is connected to output 1, the 4 bottom servos connected to output 2-5 are
programmed to receive pitch, roll and yaw commands, output-6 servo would respond to roll,
and output-7 servo responds to pitch.
Servos are mechanical actuators that move the control surfaces. It incorporates a DC motor that
drives a gear train. An integrated circuit receives signals from the receiver, sent by the
transmitter. The signal received will determine the position that the servo arm will rotate to. The
Servo Selected for the project is the Hitec HS-55. There are 6 servos used for the project.


Future developments include autopilot development,use of more efficient power
sources,development of smaller models. These factors make it suitable for a wide range of
applications by integrating it with various technologies such as surveillance,terrain
mapping,land mine detection etc.
-It can keep an eye on illegal activities in forests such as deforestrations,hunting and naxalite
- Wildfire: In a forest-fire scenario it's often difficult to have an updated and global awareness
of various elements involved.The spherical VTOL is compact and easy to operate, and can
easily be launched from a command-and-control vehicle. In a few minutes, the field teams can
start to receive images and footage from the spherical VTOL, and develop a better up-to-date
situational awareness of the operations theatre.
- By suitable technologies, it can help in wildlife count.
- Spherical VTOL can replace other small UAVs as they lower the risk of injury to birds as they
have an encased propeller system.

- Can be used for livestock management ( keeping track of the movement of the herd).
- Can be used for search and rescue operations in remote locations during time of natural
- Providing Medical assistance in times of natural calamities
- Surveillance - It can be used for public safety, also to see how the city is growing,rooftop
inspection, discover clandestine dumps, monitor any land movement in a remote area that has
gone undetected.It can also be used in night by using thermal camera.
-Terrain mapping
- Landmine detection
- Pipeline inspection in remote areas and difficult terrains
-Aerial photography
-Use inside mines for detecting and warning against toxic gases.
This report presented the design, analysis, control, and implementation of a novel,ultralightweight spherical VTOL UAV. It has the ability to fly through the air or roll on the ground,
for various applicationssuch as inspection, surveillance, mapping, and search and rescue.

REFERENCES1. Chia Yong Han Timothy ,Spherical VTOL UAV structure and aerodynamics
2. Andrew Ong ,Spherical VTOL UAV Propulsion and Control Systems