INDIANA stands for “Integrated AI-aided wing design and shape optimization framework for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle applications”. The project, which started in November 2023, is funded by the Action “Basic Research Financing (Horizontal support for all Sciences) National Recovery and Resilience Plan” of the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI/ELIDEK).

 

The goal of the INDIANA project is the development of a framework that can design and optimize wing configurations for fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle applications. This goal will be achieved by combining multiple aerospace engineering disciplines, through the development and synergetic integration of 5 modules for the design procedure and 1 module for the optimization. The framework development will be based on the Python programming language, employing an object-oriented architecture. A novel Artificial Intelligence approach will be employed for the development of the aerodynamic and stability coefficients module, to allow rapid acquisition of high-fidelity predictions in a reduced-order modeling approach. Computational Fluid Dynamics data will be used for its training and wind tunnel experiments will be conducted to validate its results. The other 4 modules will handle the external layout parameters calculation, the internal layout and weights calculation, the stability assessment (0D-1D tools), and the 3D layout generation (3D CAD tool). The 5 wing design modules will be integrated into a “baseline” framework capable of producing a wing “instance”. The “baseline” framework will be coupled with an optimizer module that will generate multiple instances and evaluate them in an iterative procedure until the shape optimization target is met.

 

The INDIANA framework will emphasize on external shape optimization and be applicable to both conventional (wing-body-tail) and Blended Wing Body (BWB) UAV configurations, where multidisciplinarity is critical. Its potential on other aerospace-related applications, such as commercial airliner wings and propeller blades, will also be investigated. The proposed research approach inherently involves high risk, due to its novelty, but can potentially yield significant improvements in the field of aviation, by generating optimized wing configurations that are hard to design, if not completely unattainable, by a human Engineer.

 

The windtunnel experiments will be conducted in the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), while the rest of the INDIANA framework development activities analysis and coding will be conducted in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), which is the INDIANA Host Institution.