Drones: Opportunities and Challenges

A special issue of Drones (ISSN 2504-446X). This special issue belongs to the section "Drone Design and Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (16 October 2023) | Viewed by 35793

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, University of Catania, 95131 Catania, Italy
Interests: systems and control engineering; field robotics; service robotics; UAV/UGV cooperation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science and Technology, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
Interests: mechatronics; robotics; control systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, University of Catania, 95131 Catania, Italy
Interests: automation; control engineering; AI for robotics navigation; applied robotics; cooperative mobile robots
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
GIPSA-lab, Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP, 38000 Grenoble, France
Interests: robust control; nonlinear systems; navigation of multi-agent systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Scientific background:

One of the most investigated research fields over the past ten years is the study of drones, whose community is focused on a wide spectrum of topics, ranging from modeling and actuation properties, to design and mechatronic aspects, physical interaction tasks, learning-based control methods, cooperative aerial manipulation, swarms of drones, perception and planning, to name a few.

 Importance of Drones:

Due to their incredible potential in both military and civilian applications, such as recognition, inspection, mining, precision agriculture, vigilance, and emergency aid, which call for drones that can evolve in a stable form and adapt to the operating environment, these topics have been under constant development.  To ensure mission success, the majority of applications require robust and reliable solutions and algorithms, in addition to creative drone designs, e.g., helicopters, ducted fans, tilted props, parallel props, tiltable props, morphing, and multi-platforms. The Special Issue encompasses both theoretical and experimental avenues pertinent to different drone configurations including fixed-wing drones , multirotors, drone formations, and unconventional (convertible) drones, etc. 

This Special Issue aims to provide a venue for multi-disciplinary researchers working in the domain of drones. We strongly believe that a wider dissemination of research developments in this domain is instrumental to stimulate more exchanges and collaborations among the research community and to contribute to further advancements. 

  • Fundamentals research:
    • Modeling
    • Optimization
    • Study of dynamics
    • New configurations
  • Applied research on drones
    • Aerial manipulation
    • Underwater drones
    • Internet of drones and multi-agent systems including swarm of drones
    • Futuristic applications of drones
    • Biologically inspired drones
  • Emerging algorithms for drones:   
    • Machine learning
    • Navigation
    • Path planning
    • SLAM
    • Control and Communication
    • Learning based-control
    • Fault identification and tolerance
  • Hardware and software for drones
    • Embedded systems
    • Design and fabrication of drones
    • Drone simulation
  • Administrative perspective
    • Legislation
    • Health and safety issues while flying drones
    • Commercialization of drones

Suggested Themes:

  • Fundamental research on drones
  • Futuristically applied research on drones
  • Emerging algorithms for drones
  • Hardware and software for drones
  • Administrative perspective of drones

Types of submissions:

  • Original research papers
  • Review papers 

For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office or Guest Editors.

Prof. Giovanni Muscato
Dr. Jamshed Iqbal
Dr. Dario Calogero Guastella
Dr. Moussa Labbadi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Drones is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • algorithms and technologies for drones
  • applications of drones
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
  • flying robots
  • autonomous air-borne systems

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

16 pages, 14911 KiB  
Article
Aerial Torsional Work Utilizing a Multirotor UAV with Add-on Thrust Vectoring Device
by Ricardo Rosales Martinez, Hannibal Paul and Kazuhiro Shimonomura
Drones 2023, 7(9), 551; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7090551 - 25 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1194
Abstract
Aerial manipulation aims to combine the versatility and the agility of aerial platforms with the manipulation capabilities of robotic arms. Their fast deployment allows for their implementation in maintenance tasks and support during disaster situations. However, the under-actuated nature of multirotor UAVs limits [...] Read more.
Aerial manipulation aims to combine the versatility and the agility of aerial platforms with the manipulation capabilities of robotic arms. Their fast deployment allows for their implementation in maintenance tasks and support during disaster situations. However, the under-actuated nature of multirotor UAVs limits the magnitude and direction of the forces an aerial vehicle can safely exert during manipulation tasks. In this paper, the problems associated with UAVs and torsional tasks constraints regarding valve turning are addressed. An add-on thrust vectoring device which enhances manipulation options available to a conventional multirotor UAV is developed and described. The proposed system allows for a partial decoupling of the attitude and velocity vector of a multirotor. This permits stable translational flight and higher torque capabilities for torsional tasks. The separation of attitude and the velocity vector that allows for the design of a passive mechanism for valve operation is presented in this paper as well. The experimental results illustrate the forces and torques that can be generated in the evaluated operation modes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones: Opportunities and Challenges)
Show Figures

Figure 1

30 pages, 9180 KiB  
Article
Unleashing the Potential of Morphing Wings: A Novel Cost Effective Morphing Method for UAV Surfaces, Rear Spar Articulated Wing Camber
by Emre Ozbek, Selcuk Ekici and T. Hikmet Karakoc
Drones 2023, 7(6), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7060379 - 5 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3851
Abstract
The implementation of morphing wing applications in aircraft design has sparked significant interest as it enables the dimensional properties of the aircraft to be modified during flight. By allowing manipulation of the 2D and 3D parameters on the aircraft’s wings, tail surfaces, or [...] Read more.
The implementation of morphing wing applications in aircraft design has sparked significant interest as it enables the dimensional properties of the aircraft to be modified during flight. By allowing manipulation of the 2D and 3D parameters on the aircraft’s wings, tail surfaces, or fuselage, a variety of possibilities have arisen. Two primary schools of thought have emerged in the field of morphing wing applications: the mechanisms school and the smart surfaces approach that uses shape-memory materials and smart actuators. Among the research in this field, the Fishbone Active Camber (FishBAC) approach has emerged as a promising avenue for controlling the deflection of the wing’s trailing edge. This study revisits previous research on morphing wings and the FishBAC concept, evaluates the current state of the field, and presents an original design process flow that includes the design of a unique and innovative UAV called the Stingray within the scope of the study. A novel morphing concept developed for the Stingray UAV, Rear Spar Articulated Wing Camber (RSAWC), employs a fishbone-like morphing wing rib design with rear spar articulation in a cost-effective manner. The design process and flight tests of the RSAWC are presented and directly compared with a conventional wing. Results are evaluated based on performance, weight, cost, and complexity. Semi-empirical data from the flight testing of the concept resulted in approximately a 19% flight endurance increment. The study also presents future directions of research on the RSAWC concept to guide the researchers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones: Opportunities and Challenges)
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 9923 KiB  
Article
Drone High-Rise Aerial Delivery with Vertical Grid Screening
by Avishkar Seth, Alice James, Endrowednes Kuantama, Subhas Mukhopadhyay and Richard Han
Drones 2023, 7(5), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7050300 - 4 May 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3561
Abstract
Delivery drones typically perform delivery by suspending the parcel vertically or landing the drone to drop off the package. However, because of the constrained landing area and the requirement for precise navigation, delivering items to customers who reside in multi-story apartment complexes poses [...] Read more.
Delivery drones typically perform delivery by suspending the parcel vertically or landing the drone to drop off the package. However, because of the constrained landing area and the requirement for precise navigation, delivering items to customers who reside in multi-story apartment complexes poses a unique challenge. This research paper proposes a novel drone delivery system for multi-story apartment buildings with balconies that employ two methods for Vertical Grid Screening (VGS), i.e., Grid Screening (GS) and Square Screening (SS), to detect unique markers to identify the precise balcony that needs to receive the product. The developed drone has a frame size of 295 mm and is equipped with a stereo camera and a ranging sensor. The research paper also explores the scanning and trajectory methods required for autonomous flight to accurately approach the marker location. The proposed machine learning system is trained on a YOLOv5 model for image recognition of the marker, and four different models and batch sizes are compared. The 32-batch size with a 960 × 1280 resolution model provides an average of 0.97 confidence for an extended range. This system is tested outdoors and shows an accuracy of 95% for a planned trajectory with 398 ms detection time as a solution for last-mile delivery in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones: Opportunities and Challenges)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 2138 KiB  
Article
Use of Drone Photogrammetry as An Innovative, Competency-Based Architecture Teaching Process
by Jordi Rábago and May Portuguez-Castro
Drones 2023, 7(3), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7030187 - 9 Mar 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2784
Abstract
The use of drones is becoming increasingly popular in various fields. In the case of education, initiatives have emerged in which they are included as tools to develop student’s knowledge, and their use is becoming more frequent. This research aims to present a [...] Read more.
The use of drones is becoming increasingly popular in various fields. In the case of education, initiatives have emerged in which they are included as tools to develop student’s knowledge, and their use is becoming more frequent. This research aims to present a case study in which students used drones in an architecture course at a higher education institution in Mexico. It sought to develop transversal competencies in students, such as digital transformation and cutting-edge technologies by studying spaces using photogrammetry with drones. The results showed that students increased their motivation and were able to perform a more detailed analysis of the architectural space in which they conducted the study. Additionally, they were able to capture and analyze information from architectural study processes more quickly. Aerial photogrammetry is a geospatial data collection method that offers several advantages over other methods. These advantages include higher resolution, wide coverage, flexibility, lower costs, and increased safety. Aerial photogrammetry can capture high-resolution images of large areas of land in a single flight, making it an efficient and adaptable tool for a variety of applications and environments. Additionally, it can be more economical and safer than other methods, as it avoids ground contact and reduces risks to personnel and equipment. This study is considered attractive, as it presents an example of the implementation of emerging technologies in architectural education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones: Opportunities and Challenges)
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 16327 KiB  
Article
Designing Ultrahigh Frequency Motor Rotor Position Search Coils for Electric Propulsion in Drones
by Xinmin Li, Huan Wang, Huimin Wang, Liyan Guo and Wei Chen
Drones 2023, 7(3), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7030181 - 7 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1634
Abstract
As the core of electric propulsion in drones, the motor has higher requirements for its reliability and fault tolerance. Accurate acquisition of rotor position information is a prerequisite for a motor-driven drone’s system to operate stably. Traditional search coils can provide fault tolerance [...] Read more.
As the core of electric propulsion in drones, the motor has higher requirements for its reliability and fault tolerance. Accurate acquisition of rotor position information is a prerequisite for a motor-driven drone’s system to operate stably. Traditional search coils can provide fault tolerance for position detection, but they cannot detect rotor position in the full speed range (stationary to rated speed). In order to make the search coils provide rotor position in the full speed range, this study proposes to inject an ultrahigh frequency (UHF) signal (50–100 kHz) into the search coils. By optimizing the self-inductance of the search coil, the mutual inductance between the search coil and the armature winding, the back electromotive force (BEMF) of the search coil, and the mutual inductance between the search coils, the structure of the UHF search coil designed in this paper is helpful to extract the UHF feedback signal. Finally, based on the mapping relationship between the self-inductance of the search coil and the rotor position, the rotor position of the motor can be detected in the full speed range. The novelty of the proposed work lies in the UHF search coil with zero mutual inductance coupling to the armature winding, small BEMF, and low interphase mutual inductance that can detect the rotor position in the full speed domain. Maxwell software is used to optimize the structure of the UHF search coil, and the feasibility of the design results is verified by co-simulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones: Opportunities and Challenges)
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 1888 KiB  
Article
Proposals of Processes and Organizational Preventive Measures against Malfunctioning of Drones and User Negligence
by Mircea Constantin Șcheau, Monica Violeta Achim, Larisa Găbudeanu, Viorela Ligia Văidean, Alexandru Lucian Vîlcea and Liliana Apetri
Drones 2023, 7(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7010064 - 16 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2234
Abstract
Drones have been included in more and more activities in various domains, such as military, commercial and personal use. The existing legislative framework insufficiently addresses the responsibility and preventive measures angles in case of vulnerability exploitation and negligence in drone usage. Such aspects [...] Read more.
Drones have been included in more and more activities in various domains, such as military, commercial and personal use. The existing legislative framework insufficiently addresses the responsibility and preventive measures angles in case of vulnerability exploitation and negligence in drone usage. Such aspects can be addressed by the industry in technological processes and standardization. These are especially important aspects given the high impact that misuse of drones can have on individuals, property and buildings within the flight zone when the drone is misused. The aim of this research paper is to investigate how these elements are viewed in existing legislation and by individuals, while taking into account the technical specifics and the stakeholder ecosystem of drone usage. In this respect, we use a complex questionnaire which was sent to a final number of 233 respondents pertaining to firms specialized in IT, legal and cybersecurity. The responses have been analyzed from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Our results highlight the areas of improvement in the existing standardization and find the followings: (1) stakeholders across the drone ecosystem are viewed as having a shared liability in certain use cases, (2) preventive measure implementation should be dispersed across the stakeholders of drone usage and (3) automation of prevention measures is considered more useful in case of malfunctioning or misuse of drones rather than user manual intervention. In addition, we make proposals to accommodate new policy requirements for the above use cases. The results of this research paper assist policy makers in improving existing standardization framework and technological processes concerning drone usage, but also stakeholders of the drone ecosystem in generating increased trust of the drone users. Further, this research paper can also assist drone software and hardware producers in calibrating their products to ensure trust of the users. In addition, trust in the use of drones for commercial and personal purposes is increased through standardization and proper approaches for situations that may cause damages to drones and to third parties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones: Opportunities and Challenges)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

17 pages, 702 KiB  
Review
Challenges for the Routine Application of Drones in Healthcare: A Scoping Review
by Sara De Silvestri, Pasquale Junior Capasso, Alessandra Gargiulo, Sara Molinari and Alberto Sanna
Drones 2023, 7(12), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7120685 - 21 Nov 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3708
Abstract
Uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, have emerged as transformative tools in the healthcare sector, offering the potential to revolutionize medical logistics, emergency response, and patient care. This scoping review provides a comprehensive exploration of the diverse applications of drones in [...] Read more.
Uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, have emerged as transformative tools in the healthcare sector, offering the potential to revolutionize medical logistics, emergency response, and patient care. This scoping review provides a comprehensive exploration of the diverse applications of drones in healthcare, addressing critical gaps in existing literature. While previous reviews have primarily focused on specific facets of drone technology within the medical field, this study offers a holistic perspective, encompassing a wide range of potential healthcare applications. The review categorizes and analyzes the literature according to key domains, including the transport of biomedical goods, automated external defibrillator (AED) delivery, healthcare logistics, air ambulance services, and various other medical applications. It also examines public acceptance and the regulatory framework surrounding medical drone services. Despite advancements, critical knowledge gaps persist, particularly in understanding the intricate interplay between technological challenges, the existing regulatory framework, and societal acceptance. This review highlights the need for the extensive validation of cost-effective business cases, the development of control techniques that can address time and resource savings within the constraints of real-life scenarios, the design of crash-protected containers, and the establishment of corresponding tests and standards to demonstrate their conformity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones: Opportunities and Challenges)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 1104 KiB  
Review
Path Planning for Autonomous Drones: Challenges and Future Directions
by Gopi Gugan and Anwar Haque
Drones 2023, 7(3), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7030169 - 28 Feb 2023
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 14734
Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, have gained a lot of popularity over the last decade. The use of autonomous drones appears to be a viable and low-cost solution to problems in many applications. Path planning capabilities are essential for autonomous control systems. [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, have gained a lot of popularity over the last decade. The use of autonomous drones appears to be a viable and low-cost solution to problems in many applications. Path planning capabilities are essential for autonomous control systems. An autonomous drone must be able to rapidly compute feasible and energy-efficient paths to avoid collisions. In this study, we review two key aspects of path planning: environmental representation and path generation techniques. Common path planning techniques are analyzed, and their key limitations are highlighted. Finally, we review thirty-five highly cited publications to identify current trends in drone path planning research. We then use these results to identify factors that need to be addressed in future studies in order to develop a practical path planner for autonomous drones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones: Opportunities and Challenges)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop