OVMI: An autonomous and bio-inspired Nano-Air-Vehicle.

The OVMI project aims at developing an autonomous and bio-inspired flapping-wing Nano-Air-Vehicle of about 3cm relying mainly on MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) technologies to complete various tasks taking advantages of its size and its robustness.

 

 

Several partners have gathered around the OVMI: the IEMN (Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology), the ONERA (The French Aerospace Lab), the LPPI ( Laboratory of Physico-Chemistry of Polymers and Interfaces), and the ENSIAME (École Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs en Informatique Automatique Mécanique Énergétique Électronique). A wide variety of expertise (MEMS, aeroelasticity, electro-active polymer, electronics) is thus available to solve all the challenges raised by the OVMI.

The drones, either aerial, terrestrial or marine, are nowadays drawing a constantly increasing interest from scientists, industrialists and governments as an efficient platform for gathering information and for achieving time-consuming and arduous tasks. The Nano Air Vehicle, being a sub-category of aerial drones, is also having its share of interest and success. Due mainly to the size constraint (maximal dimension below 7.5cm), novel flight solutions are necessary and nature, with Insects and Birds, is an obvious source of inspiration. Indeed the flapping-wing, in comparison to the more traditional rotary or fixed wing solutions, takes the upper hand in terms of stationary flight in constrained areas with a certain quietness allowing novel fields of deployment for drones.

However the flapping-flight is lacking well-established know-how, such as the one on airplane, and is thus facing several scientific and technical issues. Thanks to the scientific community, comprehensive progress has been made on the understanding of flapping-flight leaving, nowadays, only the technical issues to be solved. Through the MEMS, new horizons in terms of technical solutions for flapping-wing drones have emerged foreseeing the rise of insect-scale drones such as the OVMI.

Artistic view of an OVMI prototype