UAV Benefits Highlighted in News
Current and future benefits of Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles were highlighted in a news article and interview with KARE 11 on March 12, 2013. Full access to the video and news article can be found on their website: KARE 11: Drone Research Being Conducted at the U of M
Prior UAV research at the UMN has been used by industry partners to check control law validation software, leading to flight control systems with fewer faults. Navigation algorithms developed in the lab are currently in use by ATI Resolution on a UAV they operate with NOAA to find tsunami debris and ghost nets. Finally, the aircraft simulation developed by the UMN UAV lab has been used by NASA to research a new lift distribution that could lead to significantly lower drag resulting in fuel savings in future aircraft.
Current and future research in the lab will lead to aircraft that are more fault tolerant, robust, and environmentally friendly. The UAV Lab continues to work with state agencies to help define and explore beneficial uses of UAVs.
Avionics Pallet Development Update
The first prototype of the newly designed avionics pallet has recently been constructed. A few small changes have been implemented since the previous development post. It fits comfortably in the bay of the Ultra Stick 25e air frame, which is the smallest compartment it is required to fit in. We are now in the process of wiring the pallet for testing.
Avionics Pallet Development
We are currently developing an all new portable avionics pallet design. This pallet will have the capability of being removed from the aircraft to be used for development and hardware-in-the-loop testing. All components needed for autonomous flight and ground station communication are contained on the pallet. The remaining RC components allow the aircraft to fly in manual mode when the pallet is removed. The design will be compatible in both the Ultra Stick 120 and Ultra Stick 25e airframes and enables a faster, more integrated approach to guidance, navigation, and control development. We are expecting to flight-test our first pallet in Spring 2013.
New Aircraft from Lockheed Martin Skunk Works
We recently received a new research aircraft from Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, known as the “Body Freedom Flutter” (BFF). The airframe, a flying wing, is intentionally designed to be very prone to aeroelastic flutter with some of the flutter modes combining with rigid body aircraft modes. Active control can be used to suppress the aeroelastic instabilities. This research will enable aircraft that are lighter and more aerodynamic, potentially leading to significant reductions in aircraft fuel burn and emissions. Aircraft information, models, control laws, and flight data will be published on our website – look for more information soon!