Propulsion, Autopilot, Servo, Parachute, Gimbals, ETFs, ROVs, Sensors

UAV Propulsion Tech is a US company that markets advanced UAV technology from Germany, Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom and Estonia into the US Unmanned Aerial Vehicle market. These solutions include consumer off the shelf (COTs) and custom: propulsion, autopilot, servo/actuator, parachute, gyro stabilized EO/IR gimbal systems, electric turbofans, pneumatic launchers, capacitive liquid level sensors and engine sensors. These products are proven solutions that are flying on several high-end global UAV platforms. Underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs) were recently added to support underwater inspection/mapping/surveillance. This website provides more info about the various companies and solutions available to the US market.

Contact us today
  • Nova Ray Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle

    Nova Ray Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle

  • Reventec Ltd. capacitive liquid level and engine sensors

    Reventec Ltd. capacitive liquid level and engine sensors

  • Neva Aerospace electric turbofans optimized for static thrust for VTOLs

    Neva Aerospace electric turbofans optimized for static thrust for VTOLs

  • DST Control gyro-stabilized electro-optical systems (EO/IR) & small light-weight thermal imagers

    DST Control gyro-stabilized electro-optical systems (EO/IR) & small light-weight thermal imagers

  • MicroPilot Autopilots

    MicroPilot Autopilots

  • Protect UAV Rescue/Recovery Chutes

    Protect UAV Rescue/Recovery Chutes

  • Hirth Propulsion Solutions

    Hirth Propulsion Solutions

  • Volz Servo Actuators

    Volz Servo Actuators

DST Control

DST Control

Light-weight, high performance gyro-stabilized electro-optical systems with both EO and IR capabilities, and small light-weight thermal imagers.
Read More
Hirth Motoren GmbH & Co. KG

Hirth Motoren GmbH & Co. KG

Consumer off the shelf and custom aircraft propulsion systems including starter/generator systems.
Read More
Volz Servos GmbH & Co. KG

Volz Servos GmbH & Co. KG

Consumer off the shelf and custom actuators for industrial and aerospace applications.
Read More
MicroPilot

MicroPilot

Consumer off the shelf and custom autopilots for helicopter, fixed wing, and multi-rotor UAV's.
Read More

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #31 – Perspectives on UAV Fly Away

I am the US rep for MicroPilot and market their autopilots to US UAV customers.  I have permission from MicroPilot to re-print a Blog Post they have on their website titled “Going, Going, Gone..” from November 14, 2017 about UAV/drone fly away.   Drone fly away is a big issue especially as more and more hobby, commercial and defense aircraft are using civilian airspace.   MicroPilot autopilots minimize this risk thru design of the hardware & software, product validation testing (component, true hardware in loop and flight) and production procedures which includes 100% HASS testing.  Here is a link to a White Paper from MicroPilot that shares “How to Choose a Reliable UAV Autopilot Vendor”.

Going, Going, Gone….

Wrecked_airmail_plane_in_Saugus,_Massachusetts

Some time ago, there was a fly away in Australia that was reasonably well documented in the online media. Given that there is always something to learn from every accident, I will provide my thoughts on this one. I will apologize in advance for any incorrect conclusions I have drawn from the limited facts I have available to me.

The cause of the fly away came down to a latitude/longitude that was incorrectly entered and the GCS software assumed the northern hemisphere instead of the southern hemisphere. One single incorrect character a blank instead of an S, and as a result, the underlying map, that should have covered a small area, ended up covering thousands of kilometers.

The mission was planned using this map and so all way points ended up a thousand or so kilometers from their intended location. After launch, the UAV was flown manually for a short period of time until the radio link was unexpectedly lost. The loss of link failure engaged and the UAV started flying toward it’s preprogrammed home location, a location one thousand kilometers away.

It appears, from the data in the report, that the link was regained (the ground track shows some manual Flight and then the vehicle flying away toward it’s home location). The system had a manual mode so it should have been possible to take control of the UAV manually and return; however, from the description of the incident, it seems that engaging manual mode was complex and was not engaged in time to fly the UAV back manually.

The ground track doesn’t last long. It ends about 165 meters away from the ground station. This does not appear to be a fault in the radio link because the ground station was set up next to a hill. The hill would have blocked communications to the north and the last recorded position is consistent with the UAV flying behind the hill.

This incident has all the hallmarks of a typical aviation accident and there are a number of lessons one can learn from thus incident:

Lesson 1: It’s never just one thing
In virtually every aviation accident there is not one single cause; it’s almost always a chain of events, and if you break one link in the chain the accident doesn’t happen. In this particular incident there are actually seven factors that lead to this fly away.

1. Obviously an incorrectly georeferenced map was a major contributor.
2. The system did not warn the operators that the waypoints were unreasonably far away from the location where the UAV was initialized.
3. The operators probably hadn’t practiced emergency procedures (this is a guess).
4. The system had an overly complex procedure for taking manual control.
5. The system did not show the UAV’s GPS location relative to the programmed way points (and for that matter, map), prior to takeoff. Either that or the operator didn’t notice the inconsistency between the UAV’s Flight path and the location of the waypoints.
6. If communications hadn’t been blocked by the hill it is quite possible that the operator would have had more time to recover.
7. The manufacturer’s checklists where a bit vague and did not contain clearly defined measures to check for incorrectly Georeferenced maps.

Lesson 2: Blaming operator error isn’t helpful
A long time ago, aviation accidents were often blamed on pilot error. Certainly, in many accidents, the pilot had made a mistake. After a while, the industry came to realize that blaming the pilot was not productive. Pilots made mistakes, had always made mistakes, and would always make mistakes. And so, the goal became to surround the pilot with systems and processes that tolerated these mistakes. Here we have systems and procedures that don’t tolerate operator mistakes.

Lesson 3: Aviate, Navigate then Communicate
This is an old saying from the aviation world. Many minor incidents turned into major accidents because the pilot became distracted dealing with the emergency and simply forgot to keep flying the plane. It is possible that in their attempt to determine why their UAV was headed off in an unexpected direction the operators forgot to fly the plane (i.e. take over manual control and land the UAV manually). The facts are ambiguous on this point but this is a worthwhile topic nonetheless.

There is no mention in the report of any attempt to make contact with Air Traffic Control once the UAV had flown away. There was an airport only a few kilometers away and a warning about a UAS flying away would have been appropriate. When you fly, do you have the phone number of the nearest air traffic control in case you need it?

Lesson 4: Practice makes perfect
In piloted aviation, there is a lot of emphasis on practicing emergency procedures. It is hard to respond to an emergency if you rarely, or worse, never, practice. Timely reaction to emergencies is especially important when operating a drone as the drone is often rapidly moving away from you which limits your time to respond.

Lesson 5: Learn from every mistake
It’s a lot more pleasant (and cheaper), to learn from the mistakes of others than it is to learn from your own mistakes. There is always something to learn from every mistake but human nature means we minimize our role in any accident. This makes it more difficult to learn from our own mistakes and is where the saying ‘accidents happen’ originates. Certainly, accidents happen but many, many accidents can be prevented.

It is also valuable to look beyond the circumstances of the particular accident in question. Often when you carefully examine a particular accident you will realize there are other potential accidents that are similar. For example, this incident involves flying to an unintended location. A fly away in the horizontal direction. However, drones operate in three dimensions so there is another type of fly away – in the vertical direction. If you enter an altitude of 510 instead of 150 (transposing digits is a common data entry error), your drone will climb far above your intended altitude.

To their credit, the operators of this drone reported this incident to the authorities and clearly participated in the investigation. Hopefully, the operators have learned valuable lessons, the manufacturer of this UAV will take steps to make the system more error proof, and the wider UAV community will also learn from this incident.

For the record, MicroPilot autopilots have features that would have prevented this accident. Manual mode is simple and quick to engage and always overrides autonomous mode – no input is necessary from the GCS software. During initialization, MicroPilot autopilots check all waypoints to make sure they are a reasonable distance from the initialization point. MicroPilot autopilots are usually configured to fly back to their initialization point when they lose link and not an absolute location. We also support relative waypoints in addition to absolute waypoints, which simplifies describing how failures should be handled.

If you have any questions regarding MicroPilot’s autopilot solutions, please call or email me at:  bob@uavpropulsiontech.com.  PH: +1 (810) 441-1457.  Here is the original link to the MicroPilot Blog “Going, Going, Gone..”.

You can also visit my MicroPilot page at www.uavpropulsiontech.com/micropilot or MicroPilot’s website at www.micropilot.com.


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for December:

Quote for the week:

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein.

UAV Propulsion Tech is unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hardware solution provider of propulsion, servo, autopilot, rescue/recovery parachutes, electric turbofans, pneumatic launchers, capacitive liquid level sensors, engine sensors and gyro-stabilized EO/IR gimbal solutions. Click on the HOME link above or go to www.uavpropulsiontech.com for more info.

 

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #30 – UAV Engine/Fuel Sensors

I started representing Reventec, Ltd. out of the UK to market their advanced engine and fuel sensors into the UAV market.  Reventec is well known in the Formula 1 racing industry and uses some pretty high tech sensor technology to measure engine and fuel parameters.  UAV’s are starting to use these high tech sensors to measure fuel level, fuel flow, engine speed, engine temperature and throttle position.  The racing industry drove the design for high reliability and accuracy which are the  same requirements for UAV applications. I thought I would focus my blog on these solutions that are available by Reventec, Ltd.  These sensors can interface with the UAV flight computer to monitor the propulsion and fuel delivery parameters: fuel level, fuel flow, oil level, cylinder head temperature, engine rpm and throttle position.

LIQUID LEVEL SENSING (FUEL OR OIL):

Capacitive level sensing technology works by simply measuring the permittivity difference between air and the fluid level change between the probe’s electrodes.  An electronic circuit is used to measure this change in liquid level and the sensor output changes from 0.25V (empty) to 4.75V (full).   These sensors are designed for 12V but can handle supply voltages from 6V to 31V, they are resistant to several fluids, can be used in environments from -40C to +125C and have an ingress protection rating of IP67.

EcoSense Liquid Level Sensor

EcoSense is a next-generation solid-state capacitive sensor, capable of continuous level measurement in all common liquid types. The modular sensor allows for a wide range of mounting options with the use of a custom or stock mounting adaptor.

  • Solid-state, continuous liquid level sensing
  • ±2% full scale accuracy
  • No measurement dead-band
  • FIA homologation certified
  • 0-5V Configurable Output
  • Customisable Length
  • Multiple mounting arrangements available

2017-07-26_15-17-02

 

ProSense Carbon Liquid Level Sensors

ProSense™ capacitive level sensors are custom designed to your requirements. Proven in harsh environment applications and the sensors are suitable for use with most liquid types.

  • Suitable for all common fuels, hydrocarbons and other liquids
  • Solid-state, continuous liquid level sensing
  • ±0.5% full scale accuracy
  • Designed for long-term reliability in harsh environments
  • Custom designed to your requirements

2017-07-26_15-29-34


Engine Sensors:

Quantum 360 Temp sensor new QuantumSS Speed Sensor

BROCHURES:

You can find out more info about these fuel/engine sensors by visiting my Reventec Page at http://uavpropulsiontech.com/reventec-liquid-level-sensors-engine-throttletempspeed-sensors/.  If you have any questions regarding these solutions, please call or email me at:  bob@uavpropulsiontech.com.  PH: +1 (810) 441-1457


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for October:

Quote for the week:

“You never fail until you stop trying.” – Albert Einstein.

UAV Propulsion Tech is unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hardware solution provider of propulsion, servo, autopilot, rescue/recovery parachutes, electric turbofans, pneumatic launchers, capacitive liquid level sensors, engine sensors and gyro-stabilized EO/IR gimbal solutions. Click on the HOME link above or go to www.uavpropulsiontech.com for more info.

 

 

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #29 – Top 10 US Military UAV’s

I have put together a list  that I think is representative of the key US military UAV’s.  When you are limited to 10 spots you do leave some out (like Northrop Grumman’s Hunter and Aerovironments Wasp) and did lump General Atomics Predator’s together as a family.  I am mainly just  going to list the UAV’s with photo’s and include the manufacturer’s website where you can get more info.  All info is in the public domain.

A couple of really good resources I use to investigate global UAV applications are noted below:

  • Shephard’s Media – Military Unmanned  Systems Handbook.  They now also have a Commercial Unmanned Systems Handbook.  As of this writing, it isn’t available yet.  I think it  will be available fall of 2017 at an upcoming commercial UAV trade show.
  • Armada International Compendium Unmanned Systems.  This comes out in FEB and there is always a pull-out in the center with most of the major global UAV systems.

The UAV’s are just noted from smallest to largest (not based on popularity).


#1: Aerovironment’s RQ-11B Raven®

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website: http://www.avinc.com/uas


#2: Aerovironment’s RQ-20B Puma™ AE

Website: http://www.avinc.com/uas


#3: Boeing/Insitu’s Scan Eagle

Website: https://insitu.com


#4 Textron Unmanned Systems Aerosonde Mk4.7

Website: www.textronsystems.com


#5 Boeing/Insitu’s Integrator & RQ-21A Blackjack

Website: https://insitu.com


#6: Textron Unmanned Systems RQ-7Bv2 Shadow 200

Website: www.textronsystems.com


#7 Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire Scout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website: http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/FireScout/Pages/default.aspx


#8 General Atomics Aeronautical Predator Family

Website: http://www.ga-asi.com/aircraft-platforms


#9 Northrop Grumman x47B UCAS

Website: http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/X47BUCAS/Pages/default.aspx


#10 Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website: http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/GlobalHawk/Pages/default.aspx


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for September:

Quote for the week:

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein.

UAV Propulsion Tech  is unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hardware solution provider of propulsion, servo, autopilot, rescue/recovery parachutes, electric turbofans, pneumatic launchers, capacitive liquid level sensors, engine sensors and gyro-stabilized EO/IR gimbal solutions.  Click on the HOME link above or go to www.uavpropulsiontech.com for more info.

 

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #27 – COTS UAV Servos

Blog post #27

I am the US representative for Volz Servos GmbH & Co. Kg located in Offenbach, Germany.  They produce high end actuators for industrial and aerospace applications.  They have been in business over 30 years and have several COTS solutions and can also develop custom solutions.  Volz servos are flying on several global UAV platforms around the world including the following (in the public domain): Lockheed Martin Fury 1500, Northrop Grumman BAT, AAI Corp Aerosonde Mk4.7, Aeronautics Orbiter, EADS Cassidian DO-DT target drones, Orbital Scan Eagle engine for Insitu, and Schiebel Camcopter S-100. Volz have high end optional features such as brushless motors, contactless postion sensor, position feedback, redundant solutions and clutch mechanisms for OPV (optionally piloted vehicle) applications.  All hardware has traceability which can be difficult to obtain from high volume hobby RC servos.  Volz is also ISO9001:2008 certified and applies advanced quality systems for demanding UAV requirements.  This can include 100% HASS (highly accelerated stress screening) or even custom measurements depending on customer needs.

Volz blog

Key features of Volz servos are:

  • CNC machined aluminum actuator case.
  • IP67 standard for water/dust intrusion protection.
  • Multi purpose lug mounts for variable servo fixation.
  • Integrated microprocessor controlled PC boards.
  • Fully programmable by the customer.

Optional features:

  • ISS System protects gear train against shock loads.
  • Serial communication interface (DA26/DA30 and larger).
  • Wear free position sensor for improved reliability/life.
  • Brushless motor for improved reliability/life.

Volz does produce small servos (DA10 & DA13) but I am focusing on the main servos that are typically used for UAV applications in this blog post.  I have noted the COTS DA14-DA30 options below (including throttle, submersible, and OPV-optionally piloted vehicle alternatives).

DA14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DA14 (14mm class) – Link to datasheet/CAD

DA15

DA15 (15mm class) – Link to datasheet/CAD

DA20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DA20 (20mm class) – Link to datasheet/CAD

DA22 blog

DA22 (22mm class) – Link to datasheet/CAD

DA26 blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DA26 (26mm class) – Link to datasheet/CAD

DA30 blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DA30 (30mm class) – Link to datasheet/CAD

Redundant blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duplex – Redundant Class – Link to datasheet/CAD

OPV blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPV (optionally piloted vehicle) Class – Includes electro-mechanical clutch – Link to datasheet/CAD

throttle blog

Throttle servo class – Link to datasheet/CAD

Due to the high reliability of these servos, they have been selected by some of the largest UAV producers in the world.  I have noted the references below that are in the public domain.

2017-02-10_8-03-32

You can find out more info about these servo actuator solutions by visiting my Volz page at www.uavpropulsiontech.com/volz or the Volz website at www.volz-servos.com.  If you have any questions regarding these solutions, please call or email me at: bob@uavpropulsiontech.com.  PH: +1 (810) 441-1457


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for February:

Quote for the week:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein.

UAV Propulsion Tech is unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hardware solution provider of propulsion, servo, autopilot, rescue/recovery parachutes, electric turbofans, pneumatic launchers, capacitive liquid level sensors, engine sensors and gyro-stabilized EO/IR gimbal solutions. Click on the HOME link above or go to www.uavpropulsiontech.com for more info.

 

 

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #26 – My Interview w/POMS & Associates about How Drones Are Being Used Today

poms-expert-interview

CLICK ON LINK TO GO TO POMS INTERVIEW


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for November:

Quote for the week:

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein.

Stay involved and engaged – SUBSCRIBE

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #25 – Highlights from the Commercial UAV Expo 2016

blog-post-25

I attended the Commercial UAV Expo that was held at the MGM Grand Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I arrived on OCT 31st and supported the MicroPilot booth during the Halloween reception and also supported on NOV 1st.  I also got a chance to check out the show and thought it would be good to show some of the things I saw.  The first thing I noticed that was different from the Interdrone show I attended a month previously is there were fewer hobby companies exhibiting which is to be expected since it had a “commercial” focus.  Check out their website for more info: http://www.expouav.com/

imag3728

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a shot of me at the MicroPilot booth.  I supported Kyle Hayes who is an engineer from MicroPilot.  We had lots of interest in our board mount, enclosed and triple redundant autopilots as the commercial guys were looking for a more reliable solution than the hobby hardware that they are currently flying.  Particularly those that have expensive air vehicles and payloads like  LiDAR.  Check out my MicroPilot page for more info: http://www.uavpropulsiontech.com/micropilot.

The one thing I noticed while walking the show is there were lots of helicopters on display.  Solutions from Pulse Aero, Leptron, Altus Intelligence, and Swiss Drones.

imag3742

 

Pulse Aerospace had their Vapor 55 on display with a LiDAR package.  You can find out more about their solutions by visiting: http://www.pulseaero.com/.

imag3747

 

Altus Intelligence out of New Zealand had their ORC4 helicopter on display.  You can find out more about Altus Intelligence by visiting their website at: https://altusintelligence.com/.

imag3766

Swiss Drones had their SDO 50V2 helicopter on display.  This was a very impressive helicopter using a gas turbine engine (for reduced vibration for enhanced sensor performance), and capable of a 50kg payload.  They can carry a multispectral camera or crop spraying system.  You can find out more by visiting: http://www.swissdrones.com/

army_avenger

 

 

I neglected to get a picture at the show of the Leptron Avenger helicopter so had to grab one from their website.  They have two variants (electric and gasoline engine) providing 20 min or 2hr endurance respectively.  Payloads of EO/IR and LiDAR as well as HD video.   Check out their website for more info: http://www.leptron.com/

imag3751

 

 

 

Another interesting find was the “Wingcopter” hybrid UAV out of Germany.  This was on display at the MultiRotor booth  and has rotating propellers to transition from VTOL to horizontal flight.  You can find more about this solution by visiting http://www.wingcopter.com/ or http://www.multirotor.net.

imag3756

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payloads also had a good presence especially LiDAR and infrared.  Velodyne are LiDAR experts and have released three new LiDAR’s this year.  These include: Puck Hi-Res™ sensor,  VLP-16 Puck™ and the Puck LITE™.  You can find out more about Velodyne by visiting: http://velodynelidar.com/index.html

imag3770

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have read about the flying bird solution from Clear Flight Solutions but this was the first time to see it first hand.  This is a great product with flapping wings that provides a unique ISR solution that is less noticeable than a multicopter or fixed wing with electric or piston engines.  I would think this would provide some stealth capability that could be beneficial.  From what I understand they don’t sell the system but are building a global service business using these birds.  You can find out more by visiting: http://clearflightsolutions.com/.


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for November:

Quote for the week:

“Logic will get you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein.

Stay involved and engaged – SUBSCRIBE

 

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #24 – Info Graphic: The Rise of the Drone Industry

The info graphic is courtesy of The Drone Worx company out of the UK and is published on this blog with their permission. They are a hobby/commercial drone retailer. You can find out more info by visiting http://www.thedroneworx.co.uk


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for October:

Quote for the week:

“The finite mind tries to limit the infinite.” – Toba Beta

Stay involved and engaged – SUBSCRIBE

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #23 – Slideshare: Top 10 Blogs from UAV Propulsion Tech

I have been posting blogs on UAV Propulsion Tech for about a year and a half so I wanted to check my Google Analytics for blog post activity from JAN-OCT 2016. I summarized the results in the Slideshare below:


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for October:

Quote for the week:

“Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.” – Albert Einstein

UAV Propulsion Tech is unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hardware solution provider of propulsion, servo, autopilot, rescue/recovery parachutes, electric turbofans, pneumatic launchers, capacitive liquid level sensors, engine sensors and gyro-stabilized EO/IR gimbal solutions. Click on the HOME link above or go to www.uavpropulsiontech.com for more info.

 

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #22 – Highlights from InterDrone 2016

hightlights-from

I attended the  InterDrone conference that was held at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas SEP 7-9.   I attended last year  and supported the  MicroPilot exhibit.  MicroPilot exhibited again this year and I spent some time supporting their booth and also spent some time checking out some of the new products on display.  I thought I would highlight some of what I saw in this blog post.

cr4tkgiuaaator_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MicroPilot was displaying three variants of their autopilots (board mount, enclosed, and triple redundant).  We had lots of interest from drone users and manufacturers that were not happy with their low cost open source solutions.  Check out my MicroPilot page for more info on their autopilot solutions. http://www.uavpropulsiontech.com/micropilot

cr360edxeaang2_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stopped by the  Insitu booth to get a demo of their new INEXATM intuitive ground control system plug-in for Arducopter.  The VR demo was pretty impressive and their pricing for the consumer/commercial market is only $60/year for this highly functional ground control station plug-in.  You can find out more here: https://insitu-web-store.myshopify.com/products/inexa

2016-09-22_13-32-38

 

 

 

 

 

Saxon Remote Systems (formerly Skynet) had a large 20’x20′ booth that included their Viper M10 electric UAV and a ground  control station vehicle solution.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of their booth but they were very busy during the show and one of the few commercial/military high end solution providers at this event.  Their Viper M10 can fly for over 3 hrs and Saxon has a family of these UAV’s from 4′ wingspan to 20′ wingspan.  The larger ones utilize piston engines and have longer endurance than the electrics.  Check out their website for more info: http://saxonremotesystems.com/

cr3-ejfuaaepd1t

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xCraft had their new PhoneDrone Ethos on display which is supposed to be available for sale sometime this fall.  These are they guys that pitched their xPlusOne drone to Shark Tank.  The xPlusOne takes off vertical and has an x-wing configuration that allows it to fly vertical.  They also had their new xCraft 2 on display (their next generation with new autopilot).  Check out their website for more info: http://xcraft.io/

2016-09-22_14-45-59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stopped by the Autel booth to check out their x-Star consumer drone.  This looks very similar to the DJI Phantom.  They have a nice kit that includes 4k camera, gimbal, RC controller and hard case for $899.  I am tempted.  You can find out more about Autel by visiting their website:  https://www.autelrobotics.com/.  Or check out the Amazon Link to purchase.

newphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ProDrone out of Japan had a very interesting drone on display that had robotic arms.  This very large drone (44lbs) can utilize its robotic arms to grab a 22lb object.  You can find out more by visiting ProDrone’s website:  https://www.prodrone.jp/en/.  There is also a YouTube Video showing this  drone in operation.

2016-09-22_15-03-11

 

 

 

 

 

Another high end UAV provider (DroneTech UAV) had their AV-1 Albatross on display.  This is a fixed wing with 4-rotors to take-off and land vertically.  ITAR free aircraft with 8hr endurance.  They also have an AV-2 Albatross with 28hr endurance which uses twin Hirth 4102 8hp engines.  You can find out more by visiting: http://www.dronetechuav.com/

agdrone-system-full-sm-edit-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HoneyComb Corp had their Ag Drone System on display.  This Ag drone is very durable compared to other similar Ag drones because it has a Kevlar exoskeleton.  The system includes dual cameras (RBG, NIR) and is fully autonomous.  Check out their website for more info: http://www.honeycombcorp.com/

There were other products on display of course but I thought I would highlight the ones that caught my eye.  I will be attending the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas OCT 31 and NOV 1.  I will try to post another  blog on that show.


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for August:

Quote for the week:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

Stay involved and engaged – SUBSCRIBE

UAV Propulsion Tech Post #21 – UAV System Solutions

UAV System Solutions Blog Post 21

UPDATED AUG 9, 2017: UAV’s require several systems to keep them in the air and allow them to complete their mission.  I have been working in the UAV business over 10 years mainly supporting propulsion systems but in the last 5 years I have expanded my business to include other systems.  My focus for UAV Propulsion Tech, is to find the best UAV solution providers outside of the US and offer their solutions into the US and global UAV market.  I thought I would summarize these solutions in this months blog.

The graphic below shows the systems that will be detailed further below.

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A: Propulsion- This is what keeps the UAV  in the air but also provides electrical power to the air vehicle and payload via a generator.  It also can include an engine mount which is critical to minimize vibration transmission to the payload which can cause camera issues.  It also typically has an engine management system that interfaces with the flight computer to monitor engine health (like cylinder head temp, exhaust gas temp, throttle position, manifold air pressure, and can also calculate fuel consumption).  The propeller is tested with the engine (and sometimes supplied) but is usually specified by the UAV manufacturer’s aerospace engineers.  The propeller can be direct driven from the engine or utilize a propeller speed reduction system (either belt or gear) to allow the UAV to utilize a larger propeller spinning at a lower speed.  This decreases noise and increases thrust.

UAV Propulsion Tech provides propulsion solutions from Neva Aerospace (United Kingdom) and AeroSteyr/Hirth (Austria/Germany).

Neva Aerospace’s expertise is in electric turbofans (ETFs) optimized for static thrust for VTOL/STOL.  The unique turbofan housing design further ingeniously boosts thrust with no extra weight added.  The breakthrough technology of the Athena Series ETFs will displace uncaged rotor blades in the current commercial drone applications and will create exciting new possibilities for the development of the next generation of unmanned aerial systems.  Neva Aerospace is a European consortium based in the United Kingdom. It partners with key clients, technology suppliers, and financial institutions to develop technologies for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), Unmanned Air Cargo(UAC), aerial robotic platforms (ARP), and electric aviation. It owns a portfolio of patents and technologies which are among the most advanced worldwide. As of January 2016 Neva Consortium counts 5 companies with more than 100 people.

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You can find out more by visiting my Neva Aerospace page at http://uavpropulsiontech.com/neva-aerospace-electric-turbofans/ or www.neva-aero.com.

Hirth’s expertise is in COTS and custom 2-stroke aircraft engines and they currently produce engines from 8hp to 100hp.  They have been in business for almost 100 years and have produced over 1 million engines.  Their 2-strokes are used in ultralights, powered parachutes, gyrocopters, gliders, hovercraft, generators, water pumps, go-karts and UAV’s.  Their technologies include advanced engine management systems for both gasoline and heavy fuel, integrated starter/generators and relationships with some of the most reputable 2-stroke components suppliers in the world.  Their UAV customers (in the public domain) include: Saab Skeldar, Indra Pelicano, EMT Luna, Dronetech AV-1 Albatross, Northrop Bat, Denel Seeker 200, Ruag Ranger, and IDS Hero-150.

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You can find out more by visiting  my Hirth page at http://www.uavpropulsiontech.com/hirth or http://www.hirth-engines.de

B: Gimbals- The primary UAV payload is typically a gyro-stabilized electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) camera gimbal.  The payload can also have a laser range finder or pointer.  These gimbal systems also have optional video tracking, geo-location and geo-positioning.  UAV Propulsion Tech provides gimbal solutions from DST Control (Sweden).  These systems are flying on several UAV’s today and their OTUS-U135 is one of the smallest gimbals on the market with the best value for the advanced capabilities it provides.  The OTUS-U250 is a 10″ gimbal and is the largest in the DST Control family and is very cost competitive compared to other solutions of similar size.

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You can find out more by visiting my DST Control page at www.uavpropulsiontech.co/dst-control or www.dst.se.

C: Fuel Modules-Another critical system in a UAV is the fuel delivery module.  This would typically include a fuel tank, fuel pump, and fuel level sensor.  The operation  of the UAV can impact delivery of fuel to the engine which can cause fuel starvation and engine stall.  Critical events can include launch, altitude pressure changes, and flight maneuvers (pitch/yaw).  The fuel delivery module also has to provide a means to minimize slosh effects and provide filtered fuel to the engine.  Shown below is a fuel delivery module concept from UAV Propulsion Tech that shows a COTS configuration that can be customized for specific applications.  This is shown just to illustrate a typical tank system and won’t be finalized until late 2018.

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A key component of the fuel delivery module is the fuel level sensor.  I started representing Reventec, Ltd. out of the United Kingdom in July 2017 and offer their capacitive liquid level sensors, fuel flow sensors as well as engine sensors (throttle, temperature, speed).   The company was established in 2013 by Neville Meech, an experienced and internationally recognized design engineer. Having previously led the Motorsport design activities for a UK sensor company, Meech brings a vast amount of experience working with some of the most recognized race teams and sports car manufacturers in the world, predominantly within Formula 1®, ELMS/IMSA, WEC and IndyCar.  Reventec now has a rapidly growing design team, combining a huge range of mechanical and electronic design expertise.  Reventec are primarily involved in the development of products for use in harsh environments, with particular experience in the design of products for military vehicles, unmanned aircraft, race cars, industrial machines, specialist vehicles and equipment.

Reventec newYou can find out more by visiting my Reventec page at: http://uavpropulsiontech.com/reventec-liquid-level-sensors-engine-throttletempspeed-sensors/ or visiting www.reventec.com

D: Autopilots-The autopilot is a critical system of a UAV and is responsible for controlling the flight of the UAV.  It ties into several UAV systems to enable autonomous or remote piloted flight.  The autopilot links to a ground control station (GCS) via a radio modem and the GCS is used to develop waypoints for the flight plan and monitor operation.   UAV Propulsion Tech provides autopilot solutions from MicroPilot (Canada).  MicroPilot has been providing professional autopilots for the UAV market for over 20 years and has systems flying all over the world.  Their autopilot solutions include board mount (weighs only 28g), enclosed (includes redundant long range communication data link) or triple redundant (3 autopilots for ultimate reliability).  These solutions have been developed for fixed wing, multi-copter, and helicopter applications.  MicroPilot’s autopilots are not open source but they do offer XTender which is a software developers kit to enable customization.  This allows the UAV customer a way to differentiate their UAV from their competitors.  MicroPilot’s True Hardware-in-Loop simulator offers UAV integrators and researchers the highest fidelity autopilot simulation available on the market today.

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You can find out more by visiting my MicroPilot page at www.uavpropulsiontech.com/micropilot or www.micropilot.com.

E: Parachutes – Parachutes can be used in a UAV as a means of recovery (instead of a net or runway) or as a means of rescue in case of a system failure.  Most are used for rescue situations to save the air vehicle and payload assets.  The challenge is always trying to find space for a parachute and deal with the added weight.  UAV Propulsion Tech provides parachute solutions from Skygraphics (Germany).  Their ProtectUAV parachutes provide a lightweight/compact solution over other products on the market.  They are currently being utilized by several UAV companies and ProtectUAV also recently launched a multi-copter solution.  ProtectUAV’s solutions cover fixed wing applications up to 200kg MTOW and multi-copter applications up to 28kg MTOW.

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You can find out more by visiting my Skygraphics page at www.uavpropulsiontech.com/skygraphics or www.protectuav.com.

F: Servos-Another critical component for UAV’s are servos.  Servos are used to move control surfaces (like rudder, ailerons, flaps, etc.), control the engine throttle and sometimes used to trigger certain options (like a compartment door for a parachute).  UAV Propulsion Tech provides servo solutions from Volz (Germany).  Volz has been designing/producing high end servos since 1983 and are flying on several UAV’s including Aerosonde MK4.7, Northrop Bat, Schiebel Camcopter, Airbus target drones, Lockheed Martin Fury, Aeronautics Orbiter and several others.  They provide a complete range of servos from DA15 (15mm) to DA30 (30mm) and are now offering redundant and OPV (optionally piloted vehicle) variants of their larger DA26 and DA30 servos.

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They also have throttle servos that can be mounted directly to the engine throttle and can withstand the vibration because of their brushless motor and contactless sensor design.

 

 

You can find out more by visiting my Volz page at www.uavpropulsiontech.com/volz or www.volz-servos.com.

Launchers:  Another key system that I can provide for small fixed wing UAV’s is a pneumatic launcher from Eli Airborne Systems out of Estonia.   This UAV pneumatic launcher has been developed to accelerate UAV-s and other aircraft with MTOW up to 40 kg and launch them at speeds up to 25m/s. The launcher is light-weight, battery-operated and is quickly assembled. The system is easily portable in two special rugged cases. Custom carriage rods can be designed based on clients UAV specifications.  Eli Airborne Solutions is a leading developer of military solutions.  They also produce a parachute release mechanism that automatically separates the parachute from the UAV when the UAV is on the ground to protect the wind from dragging the air vehicle and causing damage.

Eli UAV solutions

 

You can find out more by visiting my Eli pages: Launcher – http://uavpropulsiontech.com/Eli Airborne Systems or http://eli.ee/


Key UAV News for the Week:

Industry Events for August:

Quote for the week:

“The human spirit is like an elastic band. The more you stretch, the greater your capacity.” – Bidemi Mark-Mordi

UAV Propulsion Tech is unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) hardware solution provider of propulsion, servo, autopilot, rescue/recovery parachutes, electric turbofans, pneumatic launchers, capacitive liquid level sensors, engine sensors and gyro-stabilized EO/IR gimbal solutions. Click on the HOME link above or go to www.uavpropulsiontech.com for more info.

 

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