Endurance Optimisation of Battery-Powered Rotorcraft

Analiza Abdilla, Arthur Richards, Steve Burrow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes a technique to extend the endurance of
battery-powered rotorcraft by sub-dividing the monolithic battery into
multiple smaller capacity batteries which are sequentially discharged and
released. The discarding of consumed battery mass reduces the propulsive
power required, thereby contributing towards increased endurance.
However, the corresponding implementation introduces additional parasitic
mass due to the required battery switching and attachment and
release mechanism, which, together with the decrease in battery efficiency with decreasing size, results in endurance improvements only being achieved beyond a threshold payload and which scale with rotorcraft size. An endurance model for battery-powered rotorcraft is presented, together with a technique to determine the maximum endurance and corresponding battery combination, by solving the Knapsack Problem by Dynamic Programming. The theoretical upper bound on rotorcraft endurance, which may be obtained from an ideal "infinitely-divisible" battery, is derived from the Breguet-Range Equation. Theoretical derivations and model predictions are validated through experimental flight tests using a popular commercial quadrotor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTowards Autonomous Robotic Systems
Subtitle of host publication16th Annual Conference, TAROS 2015, Liverpool, UK, September 8-10, 2015, Proceedings
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-22416-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-22415-2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2015


  • Endurance Optimisation Power Battery LiPo UAV Rotorcraft Quadrotor Knapsack problem Dynamic programming


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