Adaptive and Autonomous Energy Management on a Sensor Network Using Aerial Robots

This research introduces novel recharging systems and algorithms to supplement existing systems and lead to autonomous, sustainable energy management on sensor networks. The purpose of this project is to develop a wireless power transfer system that enables unmanned areal vehicles (UAVs) to provide power to, and recharge batteries of wireless sensors and other electronics far removed from the electric grid. We do this using wireless power transfer through the use of strongly coupled resonances. We have designed and built a custom power transfer and receiving system that is optimized for use on UAVs.  We are investigating systems and control algorithms to optimize the power transfer from the UAV to the remote sensor node.  In addition, we are investigating energy usage algorithms to optimize the use of the power in networks of sensors that are able to be recharged wirelessly from UAVs.

This research is funded in part by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers CNS-1217400 and CNS-1217428.


This project is a joint project between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of the Pacific.  Below is a list of current and past lab members working on this project in the UNL NIMBUS Lab:

  • Carrick Detweiler (PI)
  • Dave Anthony
  • Najeeb Najeeb
  • Andrew Mittleider
  • Jinfu Leng
  • Brent Griffin
  • Caleb Berggren
  • Nick Goeser

And at the University of the Pacific:

  • Elizabeth Basha (PI)
  • Michael Eiskamp
  • Jennifer Johnson
  • John McGill
  • Troy Morlan
  • John Ott
  • Jacob Palmer
  • Nicholas Yuen


This project has resulted in a number of publications both directly related to this work and also a number of publications related to the longer-term goals of enabling heterogeneous systems of UAVs and Sensor Networks working closely together.  Also see this site for additional publications.