Autonomous UAV for Large-area Crop Monitoring: ​ Aeroelastic Analysis and Experiments

Student : Bilal Sharqi

Sponsor : D. Dan and Betty Kahn Foundation


Investigate fundamental airframe/avionics topics to enable autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system for large-area crop monitoring.

Top level goals:

  • Explore configurations capable of VTOL and efficient cruise for runway independent operation and long endurance/range
  • Explore 3D printing for customized designs on-demand
  • Aeroelastic focus: experimentally predict the flutter onset given variability in airframe design and aging
  • Monitor, predict, and control the aerodynamic-structural response and stability (flutter)
  • Conduct both numerical and experimental studies

The research focuses on using an existing platform that has key features similar to future precision agriculture UAVs and develop a full-scale, half-airplane model to be tested in a wind tunnel for the various studies.


The A3TB-WT model design and instrumentation for ground vibration and wind tunnel testing.

The A3TB-WT model in the wind tunnel going through a flaperon sweep excitation.