My UAV [2014]

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Dragon029
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My UAV [2014]

Post by Dragon029 » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:23 am

Continuing on from here.

[BBvideo 560,340]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tiu0AV6XSe4[/BBvideo]

For those unaware, I'm currently the project manager for a team developing a search and rescue UAV, for the prestigious UAV Outback: Search and Rescue 2014 challenge.
What we currently have is a 3m (10ft) wingspan UAV, powered by a 2-stroke, twin-cylinder petrol/gasoline engine that provides about 6 horsepower.

Today we had our maiden flight and were able to reach speeds in excess of around 150km/h / 95mph. We flew on manual control today, simply because we need to finish installing the secondary systems of our autopilot system, but we were at least able to monitor what the autopilot was reading (we had it running, but separate to the control systems).

Unfortunately we had a hard landing on our second flight (first went for ~5 minutes, second went for ~20 minutes), which resulted in the nose gear leg shattering (it's made of fibreglass) and the main landing gear denting our fuselage. Everything else (engine, electronics, etc) was fine, but it does mean we'll need about a week to repair before we can fly again, which should be in 2 weeks.

We have video footage from a couple of GoPro cameras we mounted, but they're currently being unloaded and collated (more footage should come later in the week).

We also hope to go to a meeting at a nearby high school, where a few companies, ministers and senators will be present.
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Re: My UAV [2014]

Post by Eric » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:28 am

Thanks for updating us, glad to hear it was mostly a success. Looking forward to further footage! :ugeek:
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Re: My UAV [2014]

Post by Dragon029 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:56 pm

This video will be taken down in a week or two and replaced with another (for PR purposes), but while I have it up:

[BBvideo 560,340]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7-hdGKJIas[/BBvideo]

-- Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:56 am --

Another update:

We took it out this weekend.

We fixed the landing gear, replaced the nose gear and also made internal modifications.

Finally, on Sunday we took it flying autonomously. Here's a video of our chief pilot and one of Australia's best programmers tuning the autopilot on our aircraft:

[BBvideo 560,340]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcQx94b08D4[/BBvideo]
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Re: My UAV [2014]

Post by iqmal_97 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:30 am

This is just awesome. Nuff said.
Man, things have progressed quite enormously. I just wanna say "outstanding work" and "good luck" to all of the members of your team.
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Re: My UAV [2014]

Post by Dragon029 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:33 am

My team has accomplished a major milestone for the UAV, by dropping a water bottle in flight from our internal launcher (currently only gravity and servo operated).

This is a major requirement for Deliverable 2 (Checkpoint 2) of the Outback Search and Rescue UAV Challenge, so all-in-all we're well on track to competing in the actual competition.

[BBvideo 560,340]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNKtHjzfH7U[/BBvideo]

Note that some time in the future I'll update my UAV addon to feature a custom-shaped B250.srf (right now though, you can drop a 250lb bomb from the YSF addon, emulating the bottle's relative weight (if you actually look in the .dat of the UAV, the aircraft weighs 10 tons; I had to do that to make the aircraft behave properly in the game).

-- Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:33 pm --

Oh woe is me; unfortunately our team was disqualified (given a No-Go decision) due to 2 errors in our Deliverable 2 report.

The first was that we were missing a diagram. All the information of the diagram was already in text in other parts of the document, and the rules gave no explanation as to what they wanted from it, but nonetheless, we appealed that decision and submitted a revised report with the diagram.

Upon reviewing our resubmission however, they pointed out a typo in our report. In part of the rules, it states that we must declare that if we lose GPS and data link connectivity to the UAV, that it must conduct flight termination. To do this we stated in a section regarding GPS failure:
"If the aircraft’s location becomes completely unknown, or all data links fail, then the aircraft is to conduct flight termination."

However, because we accidentally used "or" instead of "and" this did not meet the requirements. Unfortunately they also stated that they were not accepting any further appeals, meaning we couldn't fix that one word error.

On the bright side though, it means we can finally slow down and do things properly now; it had been a hectic rush this year to get the UAV flying autonomously and dropping water bottles, to the point where we weren't following a proper engineering process. Now that we don't have to rush any more, we can focus on training the team in UAV operation, technical skills, etc as well as allowing myself and my technical team leaders to sort out how we perform a proper systems engineering approach.

Overall, we made most of our UAV over 2 months. In the next 2 years, I expect us to make magic happen (especially now that we intend to design the airframe from scratch, etc).
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Re: My UAV [2014]

Post by flamerboy67664 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:41 am

That's bad news.
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Re: My UAV [2014]

Post by decaff_42 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:22 pm

yeah rushing is bad. Too bad they were jerks about one word stuff and unclear specs. the second part is more on their end if they were unclear.

What features do you want to design into your airframe that you don't have now?
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Re: My UAV [2014]

Post by Dragon029 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:37 am

Noting that this is my personal (and not necessarily the team's) wishlist:

1. Gimbal-mounted patch antenna for 5.8GHz connection (it could potentially triple the range of that data link)

2. Internal bay for search camera (rather than internal), or alternatively a "proper" enclosed gimbal turret for the search camera (like on military aircraft).

3. This is extra-unlikely due to cost involved, but; 4 patch antennas mounted around the aircraft with intelligent switching between the antennas for maximum gain.

4. Recovery parachute - we would have had one, but we couldn't get certain specs / perform tests / program a simulator in time to provide sufficient justification for it's safe use (the rules require you to terminate your aircraft if certain things happen; the default method is via the locking of control surfaces in certain orientations; if you want to use a parachute or something you need to show that it'll be safe and that it'll stop the plane from travelling a reasonable distance outside of mission area boundaries).

5. Flaps - we were going to use mixing to have flaperons, but if we go the route of a completely new airframe, we'll have separate flaps & ailerons (although likely with both mixed to operate partially as the other; like on a Hornet).

6. Support in the airframe for modularity; I'd like to have a modular sensor bay for example that could support the search camera, or perhaps a set of fixed cameras (with image stitching), or a laser or maser turret for directing a guided payload, etc.
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