AMDC is developing small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) as prototypes or demonstrators based on customer specifications. Our current focus is on
- Development of sUAS (< 25 kg) for different applications
- Building of sUAS demonstrator platforms for AI based image recognition systems
- Analysis, optimization and modification of sUAS
- Counter-UAS effectors based on sUAS
Design of sUAS Prototypes
AMDC develops UAS prototypes up to 25 kg with different airframe configurations, e.g. multicopter, conventional wing, delta wing or cruciform wing. The adjacent image gives an impression of a cruciform wing prototype design, which is currently under development.
First step of the design process for a new UAS prototype is the requirement definition. This includes e.g. maximum size and weight, payload, endurance and manoeuvrability. Based on the requirements, an airframe configuration is chosen and a first concept with all necessary subsystems is developed.
Analysis and Optimization of sUAS
Analysis and optimization of sUAS is necessary for new sUAS design concepts or for the optimization of existing sUAS.
For both applications, AMDC uses CFD-tools operating at low Reynolds Numbers. With these tools, the forces and moments in typical flight attitudes are calculated and the relevant aerodynamic coefficients for a 6-DoF-simulation are determined.
AMDC has developed several 6-DoF-simulation models for different airframe configurations. For a new sUAS design, usually an available 6-DoF model is modified, which takes only a few weeks. This process includes the implementation of a first autopilot, appropriate for the specific airframe.
With the 6-DoF-simulation model, flight performance analyses are executed. If the performance fulfills the requirements, the construction phase begins. Otherwise a redesign takes place or the requirements have to be changed.
Construction of sUAS
Already in the design phase, the CAD based construction process begins, because for the analysis and optimization of the sUAS it is necessary to know the size, weight and performance of all subsystems.
For prototypes or demonstrators, usually the key factor is the development time. Hardware costs are less important. Therefor AMDC has a long collaboration with certain vendors and we choose well known subsystems or components from these vendors. Also we have a very short order process. In this way, the construction and building time is minimized and it is possible to build a new prototype in 6 months after requirement specification.
AMDC has developed its own onboard electronics system. Core of the system is the flight controller board with two microcontrollers and various onboard sensors (6 Inertial Measurement Units, Barometer, Magnetometer and GPS). The board also provides a variety of interfaces (USB, Ethernet, RS232, UART, SPI and I2C).
The flight controller board can be combined with a JETSON XAVIER NX on an AMDC carrier board. This supercomputer with up to 21 TOPS is mainly used for onboard AI-applications and mission computing in the case of automated or autonomous flight.
Based on the JETSON hardware, AMDC is able to provide ready-to-use AI-object recognition systems based on customer specifications.
Ground Control Station (GCS)
The onboard Electronics systems can be controlled by a GCS, developed by AMDC. The GCS provides:
- Planning of fixed flight routes
- Planning of autonomous flights
- Control of the UAS during flight
- Monitoring of UAS parameters
- Display of video streams from UAS cameras
High Performance Multicopters
AMDC offers prototypes of high-performance multicopters. These prototypes are equipped with state-of-the-art sensors, providing the flight state data with frequencies of up to 800 Hz. This allows the usage of complex filter structures to implement different controlling and navigation strategies.
The controller software is entirely designed and developed by AMDC. Besides the typical flight scenarios, the software comes with extensive safety features and enables autonomous mission execution.
The flight cell of the multicopter is made of carbon fiber reinforced and polycarbonate parts, resulting in a high thrust to weight ratio of approximately 4. The maximum hover duration comes close to 30 min.
The multicopter is equipped with a gimballed daylight camera and is capable of carrying various additional payloads. Besides the typical reconnaissance missions like object detection and classification, it can also perform Counter-UAS tasks.