Tag Archives: Airobotics

UAV189 The LightningStrike XV-24A VTOL UAS

XV-24A VTOL UAS subscale vehicle demonstrator

XV-24A subscale vehicle demonstrator. (Courtesy Aurora Flight Sciences.)

A successful test flight program for a VTOL UAS, an autonomous drone system gets an authorization to fly, the insurance industry advances drone use for structure inspections, UK drone reports increase, and drone weaponization for law enforcement.

UAV News

Aurora’s massive LightningStrike VTOL UAV just got one step closer to reality

The Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike XV-24A subscale vehicle demonstrator (SVD) aircraft test flight program was successfully completed at a U.S. military facility. The SVD aircraft is a 325 pound, Lithium battery-powered scale model of the full-size XV-24A. That flight test program is scheduled to begin in late 2018.

The XV-24A is a tilt-wing UAV using the same Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft engine used on the V-22 Osprey, to drive three Honeywell generators. The generators power 24 variable-pitch ducted fans on the wing and canard.

Press release: LightningStrike XV-24A Demonstrator Successfully Completes Subscale Flight Test Program [PDF]

Airobotics becomes first company granted authorization to fly UAS without a pilot

Tel Aviv-based Airobotics has operated a BVLOS system at Israel Chemicals (ICL) and Intel in Israel, accumulating more than 10,000 flight hours and automated flight cycles. The success of the system led the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) to grant authorization to fly the UAS without a pilot. The Airobotics system consists of the Optimus drone, an Airbase automated base station, and software that lets users control and manage missions.

Next time your roof gets hit by hail, a drone may inspect damage

Farmers Insurance conducted its first roof inspection with a DJI Phantom quadcopter. Inspection by drone is faster than a conventional inspection and eliminates potential damaging foot traffic on the roof.

Drones prompt ‘flood’ of complaints to police

Last year in the UK, police received 3,456 drone reports, while 1,237 reports were recorded in 2015. Reports include invasions of privacy, disputes between neighbours, aircraft near misses, prison smuggling, and burglars using drones to see if a house was occupied. The Department for Transport considering new measures, Including the creation of a criminal offence for drone misuse.

Weaponized Police Drones May Become Reality in Connecticut

After videos by a Connecticut teenager of his weaponized drones went viral, legislation was introduced in the Connecticut State Legislature to ban weaponized drones in the state. However, if enacted, the bill would carve out an exemption for law enforcement. No other state allows lethal drones. North Dakota permits law enforcement to use “less than lethal” weapons, like tear gas and stun guns.

Researchers test drones to spot invasive plants in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the University of Minnesota Extension are investigating the use of drones to find invasive plants that can be incredibly destructive. Tests are continuing to determine the best sensor to use, the impact of light conditions, and the best flying pattern.

UAV manufacturer senseFly joins April 20 webinar panel

The free UAVs: From Flying Drones to Doing Business webinar is scheduled for Thursday, April 20, 2017, at 1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST / 7 p.m. CET. The webinar will cover a broad range of issues concerning sensor integration aboard a flying platform and in particular their use for commercial purposes. Webinar attendees will have the opportunity to ask direct questions of the speakers, both upon registration and during the live event.

UAV Videos of the Week

Nine Royals 2017 – Racing Drone Edit

This Team BlackSheep video covers the Nine Royals snowboarders and freeskiers event in Italy entirely with FPV racing drones. The video provides views that no spectator could ever experience.

Successful Flight of Hirth 4201 EFI Gasoline Engine in MartinUAV V-BAT UAV

Hirth 4201 engine powering the V-BAT VTOL UAS

Hirth 4201 engine

MartinUAV and Hirth Motors have been working together to power the V-BAT transitional VTOL UAS with a Hirth 4201 air-cooled 2-stroke boxer engine. The February 28 test demonstrated hover and the transitioned to horizontal flight.

The 183cc, gasoline-fueled 15hp Hirth 4201 engine communicates with the V-BAT flight computer and captures engine run parameters during flight for later analysis. A  starter/generator allows for remote start and air vehicle electrical power.

The fixed-wing V-BAT features autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), an 8+ hour flight duration, and a 5+ pound payload. It has a near zero footprint, and hover and stare capability during flight.

Video: V-Bat Long Endurance VTOL UAV

 

 

 

 

 

UAV187 Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Drones

Our guest explains the research on fuel cells as a power source for unmanned aircraft. In the news, an Airobotics drone operates without a human pilot, the USAF uses a drone for aircraft inspections, BVLOS inspections in Canada, an underwater autonomous vehicle, a drone for humanitarian missions, more Amazon UAS patents, and a Patriot missile takes out a small quadcopter.

Guest

Dr. Benjamin D. Gould is a Chemical Engineer in the Chemistry Division of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). He’s an expert in fuel cell power systems and specializes in the development of next-generation power sources for the US Navy.

The Ion Tiger in flight and a 550 W fuel cell

The Ion Tiger in flight and a 550 W fuel cell (insert). Image courtesy of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

We talk with Dr. Gould about the research the NRL is conducting with fuel cells and the Ion Tiger unmanned air vehicle. We learn how fuel cells produce electricity, and the reasons fuel cells are attractive for unmanned aircraft. Dr. Gould also explains the application of additive manufacturing to fuel cells, future research projects, and the availability of the hydrogen used as the fuel.

Dr. Gould earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2007 and his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines in 2002.  His research interests include additive manufacture of fuel cells, fuel cell recovery processes, bipolar plate design, open cathode fuel cells, and hydrogen safety. He was awarded the prestigious 2013 Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award for his work on fuel cells.

References:

UAV News

This Airobotics ‘homing’ drone flies and lands without any need for a human

Tel Aviv-based Airobotics wanted to build a drone that required no human operator. One that could take off, fly pre-programmed flights for up to 30 minutes, and then land without human assistance. The company now says they have “developed a platform that is fully automated, industrial grade, on-demand and multi-purpose.” The Airobotics 1 video shows the automated landing box and a robotic arm for automatic payload and battery exchange.

USAF looks at UAS flightline maintenance

A quadcopter has been tested for the maintenance inspection of a C-17 cargo plane at Edwards Air Force Base. The US Air Force’s 412th Test Wing’s Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force (CTF) flew three sorties on the flight line with a 3D Robotics Solo quadcopter. Next, they’ll analyze the video to determine if the resolution is good enough to see small details like structural abnormalities, rivets, and cracks. See also, First use of sUAS to inspect plane lessens load for maintainers.

Canadian UAVs completes first BVLOS pipeline and powerline inspections in Canada

Canadian UAVs Inc. and Lockheed Martin CDL Systems are teaming for BVLOS inspections of pipelines, wellheads, and power lines. Using a Lockheed Martin Indago 2 quadrotor, they demonstrated the capability at the UAV testing facility in Foremost, Alberta.

Canadian UAVs Inc. is a UAV solutions provider. Lockheed Martin CDL Systems specializes in the development and licensing of vehicle control station software for unmanned systems.

British UAV “Boaty” Will Go On First Antarctic Mission

“Boaty McBoatface” is a British UAV, an underwater autonomous vehicle. Researchers plan to use it to collect data about the effects of global warming on the world’s oceans. Boaty is to depart from southern Chile and head towards the Southern Ocean. Follow @BoatyMcBoatface on Twitter.

UK company develops edible drones to feed hungry

Windhorse Aerospace Pouncer

Windhorse Aerospace Pouncer

Windhorse Aerospace is developing a prototype of the Pouncer delta-wing drone. This single-use drone is designed to carry food and supplies on humanitarian missions. Windhorse says it’s “pre-formed shell can be reused to provide shelter, the frame can be burnt safely to cook food, and the payload, which is food and water, provides life-saving nutrition.” Not only that, but the company says, “One day, the airframe may be made of edible components.”

Amazon patents drones with telescoping landing legs and foldable propellers

If a drone lands on a sloping surface, it could fall over. But an Amazon patent contemplates independently telescoping legs that would allow it to stay level. Such legs could also act as a shock absorber, and be tipped with spikes, screws, suction cups, or magnets to grip different surfaces. Another Amazon patent shows adjustable winglets on propeller tips for flight efficiency.

UAV Video of the Week

Someone shot down a $200 drone with a $3M Patriot missile

Gen. David G. Perkins, commander of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, speaking at the 2017 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exposition, stated that someone described as a very close U.S. ally “dealing with an adversary flying a small quadcopter,” fired a Patriot surface-to-air missile at the drone. It worked.

Video: AUSA 2017 – GEN David Perkins, Commanding General, U.S. TRADOC