Quanser AERO

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Flexible Platform For Mechatronics and Control

The Quanser AERO is a fully integrated lab experiment, designed for teaching mechatronics and controls concepts at the undergraduate level, as well as for advanced aerospace research applications.

The experiment is reconfigurable for various aerospace systems, from 1 DOF and 2 DOF helicopter to half-quadrotor. Integrating Quanser-developed QFLEX 2 computing interface technology, the Quanser AERO also offers flexibility in lab configurations, using a PC, or microcontrollers, such as NI myRIO, Arduino and Raspberry Pi. With the comprehensive course materials included, you can build a state-of-the-art teaching lab for your mechatronics or control courses, engage students in various design and capstone projects, and validate your research concepts on a high-quality, robust, and precise platform.

How It Works

The Quanser AERO consists of two propellers, powered by DC motors. Combined with the light-weight design of the experiment, this makes the system capable of highly responsive movements. The Quanser AERO's compact base includes a built-in amplifier with an integrated current sensor, built-in data acquisition device, and an interchangeable QFLEX 2 interface panel. The experiment comes with additional propellers to illustrate the efficiency of different propeller designs and effects of cross-coupling.

The propeller motors are equipped with optical encoders. The motor current and voltage sensors can be used to monitor the power consumption of the experiment. The slip ring mechanism allows for continuous 360° yaw rotation. The angles of the pitch and yaw axes are measured using high-resolution optical encoders. The pitch and yaw axis can be independently locked, and the angle of the propeller assemblies can be adjusted between horizontal and vertical positions. This allows users to reconfigure the Quanser AERO for various aerospace systems - 1 DOF attitude control, 2 DOF helicopter, and half-quadrotor, and experiments, e.g. pitch-only system modeling. The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) board includes accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, which can be used for attitude and yaw estimation and verification against the direct position measurements from the encoders. The Quanser AERO also has a user-controllable tri-color LED strip. Users can program the LED to indicate state, power, or other control performance characteristics of the Quanser AERO.
Quanser AERO VTOL and 2 DOF Heli configuration
1 DOF attitude control and 2 DOF helicopter configurations
Quanser AERO half-quadrotor configuration
Half-quadrotor configuration

Quanser AERO Interface Options

The Quanser AERO is available with two different, easily interchangeable interface panels:

QFLEX 2 USB interface panel Quanser AERO USB experiment, with QFLEX 2 USB interface panel, interfaces to Quanser’s control software running on your lab’s PC via a standard USB 2.0 connection.
The Quanser AERO USB can be used with MATLAB®/Simulink® and Quanser QUARC software, or with LabVIEW™ using the Quanser RCP software. With the USB version of the experiment, you can take full advantage of the comprehensive course materials and lab experiments for your controls-based courses and projects.
QFLEX 2 Embedded interface panel Quanser AERO Embedded experiment, with QFLEX 2 Embedded interface panel, interfaces to your microcontroller (not included with the experiment) via SPI connection.
The Quanser AERO Embedded does not require any additional software. This option is ideal to expose students to various microcontroller techniques, as well as for final (capstone) projects in mechatronics, control, or other similar programs.

Quanser-developed Courseware Included

The Quanser AERO USB experiment comes with Quanser-developed courseware. A combination of ABET-aligned workbook with exercises and a Laboratory Guide with modeling and control design examples, together with the quick start resources, a comprehensive User Manual, fully documented system models, and pre-designed controllers for MATLAB/Simulink and LabVIEW and a allow you to get your lab running faster, saving months of time typically required to develop lab materials.

The Quanser AERO Embedded experiment is provided with the microcontroller examples and interfacing datasheet, detailing the connections and protocols used.

  • Compact and integrated system
  • High-efficiency coreless DC motors
  • High resolution optical encoder
  • Pitch & yaw axes and DC motors/rotors speed measurements through digital tachometer
  • Built-in voltage amplifier with integrated current sensor
  • Integrated data acquisition (DAQ) device
  • Flexible QFLEX 2 computing interface for USB and SPI connections
  • User-controllable tri-color LED
  • Easy-connect cables and connectors
  • Open architecture design, allowing users to design their own controller
  • Fully compatible with MATLAB®/Simulink® and LabVIEW
  • Fully documented system models and parameters provided for MATLAB®/Simulink®, LabVIEW™
  • ABET-aligned, modular, digital media courseware provided for the Quanser AERO USB
  • Microcontroller examples and interfacing datasheet provided for the Quanser AERO Embedded
  • Additional community-created resources available on www.QuanserShare.com
Base dimensions (W x D x H) 17.8 cm x 17.8 cm x 7 cm
Device height 35.6 cm (with propeller in horizontal position)
Device length 51 cm
Device mass 3.6 kg
Propeller diameter 12.7 cm
Yaw angle range 360º
Elevation angle range 124º (± 62º from horizontal) half-quadrotor configuration
Pitch encoder resolution (in quadrature) 512 counts/revolution
Yaw/travel encoder resolution (in quadrature) 1024 counts/revolution
Pitch / yaw motor resistance 15.6 Ω
Pitch / yaw current torque constant 57.7 Nm/A
Tri-axis gyroscope range ± 245 dps
Tri-axis accelerometer range ± 2g
QFLEX 2 interface options:
- QFLEX 2 Embedded

USB 2.0

The courseware materials supplied with the Quanser AERO USB experiment consist of:

ABET-aligned Instructor and Student Workbooks with complete lab exercises, covering topics:

  • Hardware integration
  • Single propeller speed control
  • 1 DOF attitude control configuration
    • PID control
    • Iintroduction to IMU
    • Modeling and model validation using transfer function
    • System identification
    • Gain scheduling

Laboratory Guides with modeling and control design examples:

  • 2 DOF helicopter configuration
    • Modeling
    • Linear state-space representation
    • State-feedback control
    • Coupled dynamics
  • Half-quadrotor configuration
    • Modeling
    • Simple yaw control
    • Kalman filter

These courseware materials are also supplied with the Quanser AERO Embedded experiment for reference purposes.

The Quanser AERO experiment can be also used to teach other topics that are not included in the Quanser-developed courseware.

The Quanser AERO experiment comes with a QFLEX 2 interface panel of your choice (USB or Embedded). Additional panel can be purchased separately.

To set up your Quanser AERO USB experiment, you need also Quanser control software:
    - QUARC for MATLAB/Simulink¹ users
    - QRCP for LabVIEW¹ users

The Quanser AERO Embedded experiment does not require any additional components from Quanser².

¹ MATLAB, Simulink or LabVIEW licenses are not included.
² The microcontroller is not included.

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