Student Project on Plasma Actuated UAV

The California Space Grant is proud to announce updates on a student research project, sponsored in part under the California Space Grant’s UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) in 2009 and 2010. Ved Chirayath’s current research focuses on improving the efficiency of control surfaces on aircraft while reducing their total weight. Prior to his research, the application of single dielectric barrier discharge (SDBD) plasma actuators have never been applied to an aircraft or UAV.

On March 31, at Stanford’s Aerospace Design Laboratory Conference, Chirayath conducted the first controlled flight of a UAV using plasma actuators- novel, lightweight, efficient flow control devices blending onto the surface of the wing.

At the conference he received many offers from industry in hopes of buying this technology and is currently working on obtaining two patents. At a press conference scheduled for July 2011, he will officially announce his results. He hopes to have two actuated UAVs ready for RC pilots to test at Lake Lagunita in June.

For more information and to view an inflight video of the UAV click here.