Concept selection method in reverse to describe mission that best use a new technology: Ornithopter

Daigo Terutsuki, Xinyan Deng, William A. Crossley, Naohiko Kohtake

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


A common approach in concept selection methods is to gather customer requirements and needs based upon missions or operational scenarios; these requirements and needs lead to objectives that are useful in concept selection methods. However, when introducing new, cutting-edge technology, it is extremely hard for researchers or developers to gather customer requirements because customers do not fully understand (or even know) the capabilities of the new technology. In this paper, a small ornithopter - an aircraft that uses flapping wings for both lift and thrust - represents a new, potentially unfamiliar technology. To describe missions that would best use a bird-scale ornithopter, the authors have used a modification of the Weighted Objectives method. Weighted Objectives normally uses a set of objectives with user-defined importance weights to aid in selecting a concept that best meets the objectives; in this paper, the authors apply this method 'in reverse' to determine importance weights of the objectives so that the ornithopter concept becomes the preferred concept. From this new importance weight ranking, the technology developer can intuit an operating mission or scenario. For this paper, we begin with a traditional weighted objectives approach to compare a fixed-wing UAV, a rotorcraft UAV and an ornithopter UAV for a scenario and associated objective weights developed from engineering judgment and intuition before employing the 'reverse' application to describe a promising mission for the ornithopter. The approach relies upon engineering judgment and subjective decision-making; however, the paper examines sensitivities to the qualitative inputs to assess the repeatability of the approach. The resulting reverse weighted objective approach can help identify new missions and scenarios that had escaped previous consideration before the new technology concept became an available option. This provides a 'technology push' rather than a 'needs pull'.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2015
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9781479953790
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 5
Event2015 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2015 - Big Sky, United States
Duration: 2015 Mar 72015 Mar 14

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Other2015 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Sky

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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