Dr Inman Harvey
Prof Sanjeev Sanghi
Bill Bigge, MSc
Allister Furey, MSc
Our research focuses on the investigation of biologically inspired approaches to the control of tethered airfoils (kites) for production of renewable energy from the wind.
Our initial work involved the use of evolutionary robotics techniques to develop adaptive neural network controllers for the robust control and maximisation of line tension of a single kite in simulation. This was successful and resulted neurocontrollers that were selected through performance alone to fly the kite in lying eight figures, that have been shown in others' work to be an optimal trajectory for power generation.
These controllers were robust to significant and rapid changes in windspeed. Our
latest work extends the controllers capabilities to robustness to lateral
wind deviations and changes in line length. Recently we have demonstrated
how bio-inspired controllers can opportunistically exploit wind gusts and
lulls and prevent overpowering or underpowering of hardware at environmental
extremes through adaptive behaviours.
The second phase involves the application of our controllers in the real world using a robot device created by Bill Bigge in the CCNR, and working with our
commercial partners. to perform performance tests on larger, generating devices. Parallel to this effort is our work with Flexifoil
and the Thermo-fluid Mechanics Research Rentre performing computational fluid dynamics on kites in order to better improve our simulations and to facilitate the development of tailor made power generating kites. We are also currently working on applying state of the art self modelling/fault diagnosis techniques and subsequent corrective adaptation within our bio-inspired control framework.
Furey, A.D.J. and Harvey, I. (2008). Adaptive Behavioural Modulation and
Hysteresis in an Analogue of a Kite Control Task. In proc of Simulation of
Adaptive Behaviour (in print)pre-print df
Furey, A.D.J. and Harvey, I. (2008).'Robust Adaptive Control for Kite
Wind Energy Using Evolutionary Robotics'. Biological Approaches to
Engineering, pages 117-120. Southampton, UK.
Furey, A.D.J. and Harvey, I. (2007). Evolution of Neural Networks for Active
Control of Tethered Airfoils. In Almeida e Costa, F., Rocha, L.M., Costa, E.,
Harvey, I. and Coutinho, A., editors, Proceedings of the 9th European
Conference on Artificial Life, pages 746-756. Springer.