2020 UAS wrap up
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2020 has been a busy year at Maritime Robotics and not just with our USV projects, but also in our active R&D on the Falk UAS. The Falk UAS is a multi-purpose unmanned aircraft system that is being developed at Maritime Robotics to be a platform flexible towards payload integration and capable of operating in extreme environments. In this newsletter, we provide a short overview of 2020 UAS activities and achievements.
Maritime Robotics 2020 Wrap Up The UAS edition
2020 was full of test flight activities for the Falk UAS
Test flights are ongoing, focusing on operational readiness and improving efficiency. So far, it has been found that the current platform is powerful and capable, and provides a low vibration platform for precision payload systems.
In September, we ran Falk test flights at Brekken. This is an airstrip in the mountains in central Norway, located at 800m above sea level. The Falk performed as expected and proved that it has plenty of takeoff power to get in the air even in the somewhat thinner air at this altitude. Operationally, the flights at Brekken highlighted several issues raised from taking the operation away from our test base, and proved to be an important lesson for the team!
The Falk operated from ships
Work and testing have been ongoing for ship-based operations of the Falk UAS, within the scope of the MarLander project. If you are subscribed to our Youtube channel, you will have seen a video of a demonstration of the Maritime Landing System. MarLander is an innovation project between Maritime Robotics, PGS, Equinor, NOFO and NTNU, funded by the Research Council of Norway (MAROFF).
Maritime Robotics, in collaboration with NTNU, demoed the Maritime Landing System for UAS (MarLander)
Image source: https://www.ubiqaerospace.com/
The Falk in the Arctic
In our efforts to make our systems Arctic ready, Maritime Robotics has been collaborating with UBIQ Aerospace to integrate their D*ICE system into the Falk UAS. In 2020, test flights were done at different speeds, flying up to 35 m/s to compare temperature gradients of the wings during different temperature cycles and air speeds. The system performed as expected, and enabled the engineers to get verification of validity of the theories and wind tunnel test results already done. Later in the project, we will put it through some tough Arctic winter conditions to demonstrate its all-weather capabilities.
The project is between Maritime Robotics, UBIQ Aerospace and NTNU, funded by Regionale Forskningsfond Trøndelag.
The Falk in the field
Maritime Robotics is working on integration of different kinds of payloads, enabling the Falk UAS to be used for surveillance, search and rescue, or monitoring operations in different environments.
If you follow our news, you will have seen that as part of the H2020-funded project AFarCloud, Maritime Robotics has been working on integrating our UAS into the cloud, for use in farming operations. One potential use case includes the detection of objects and animals in fields before mowing
operations, to protect wildlife and to ensure that the farmers will not damage their equipment. In 2020, we successfully demonstrated the integration of a UAS platform into our vehicle control station (VCS) software, and the coupling of the VCS software to the AFarCloud mission management tool.
Over the next year, we are working towards demonstrations of UAV surveys for the AFarCloud demonstrators, and interacting with AGVs from project partner Sintef.
The AFarCloud project has received funding from the ECSEL Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 783221. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.
The Falk and the future
We have a lot of exciting research and development coming up for the Falk UAS in 2021! As we are developing this platform to be able to carry many different payloads, we are also involved in many R&D projects where we are developing such sensor payloads. In 2021 and 2022, we will be testing some of these systems in many different environments. In order to achieve successful tests, we are also working on long-range communication and relay capabilities. This is also potentially opening up opportunities for the Falk as a relay for emergency communications and data transfer in cases of emergencies in hard to reach areas. Other future uses include terrain and geophysical mapping, maritime surveillance, and agricultural applications for monitoring growing conditions and determining optimal harvest conditions. Follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) and through this newsletter to keep updated on the latest developments and results, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for potential research collaborations, or future acquisition of the Falk UAS!
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