JRM Vol.29 No.1 pp. 168-176
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2017.p0168


Evaluation of Microphone Array for Multirotor Helicopters

Takahiro Ishiki, Kai Washizaki, and Makoto Kumon

Kumamoto University
2-39-1 Kurokami, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 860-8555, Japan

July 31, 2016
October 20, 2016
February 20, 2017
multirotor helicopter, sound source localization, rotor noise, microphone array

Evaluation of Microphone Array for Multirotor Helicopters

UAV with a microphone array whose performance is evaluated

High expectations are placed on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in such tasks as rescue operations, which require a system that makes use of visual or auditory information to recognize the surrounding environment. As an example of such a system, this study examines the recognition of the environment using a helicopter mounted with a microphone array. Because the rotors of a helicopter generate high noise during operation, it is necessary to reduce the effects of this noise and those from other sources to record the audio signals coming from the ground with onboard microphones. In particular, because of helicopter body control, the rotor speed changes continuously and causes an unsteady rotor noise, which implies that it would be effective to arrange the microphones at a sufficient distance from the rotors. When a large microphone array is employed, however, the array weight may alter the helicopter’s flight characteristics and increase the noise, presenting a dilemma. This paper presents a model of rotor noise that takes into account the effect of the microphone array on the helicopter’s dynamic characteristics and proposes a method of evaluating the optimality of the array configuration, which is necessary for design. The validity of the proposed method is investigated using a multirotor helicopter mounted with a microphone array previously developed by the authors. In addition, an application example for locating sound sources on the ground using this helicopter is presented.

Cite this article as:
T. Ishiki, K. Washizaki, and M. Kumon, “Evaluation of Microphone Array for Multirotor Helicopters,” J. Robot. Mechatron., Vol.29, No.1, pp. 168-176, 2017.
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