Mountain View, CA
A Robinson-22 helicopter converted by UAVOS into an unmanned drone successfully completed in-air programmed missions. Its first flight, with a duration of more than 1 hour, was fully self-piloted, reaching a height of up to 2200 ft (670m). During the flight all scheduled tests were performed including fully automatic take-off, en-route flight and landing. Tuning of UAV control settings was also completed.
During the conversion, the aircraft electrical system was upgraded, manual control was removed, and the fuselage was altered to accommodate servo drives and components for the automatic control system. In addition, the pilot seats were removed and replaced by additional fuel tanks. The components manufactured by UAVOS such as autopilot, servo drives, sensor system and additional backup power supply were then installed into the R22-UV helicopter.
The converted R22-UV is an excellent platform for future research and testing of the aircraft’s various commercial options. In the scope of the next test flights, cargo delivery of up to 330 lb (150 kg) in the automatic mode is scheduled. Flights with duration of 6+ hours using additional fuel tanks and a payload for monitoring the land surface are also planned. In addition, plans are being made to check operational limitations of the UAV during night flights and flights under severe weather conditions. One of the top priorities is to test for the possibility of using spraying equipment with an eye to determine whether the R22-UV is fit for agricultural purposes.
Powered by a gasoline engine, the unmanned R22-UV helicopter is able to deliver cargo or carry payload with a total weight of up to 330 lb (150 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 1400 lb (635 kg). The converted aircraft has a practical ceiling of 13,780 ft (4,200m) and has a top speed of 189 kph. The UAV is designed to carry high-precision, heavy professional equipment (88 lb/40 kg and more) for a wide variety of missions. The UAV is meant to carry Lidar, SAR, any heavy optical equipment, or gas analyzers.
The advantage of the R22-UV is the fact that it can be operated in regions where airfields are unavailable, under severe weather conditions and during nighttime, and in conditions that prove to be too risky for a pilot. The converted helicopter is indispensable for oil and gas companies which need to deliver cargo to hard-to-reach areas, and where chemicals hazardous to humans are spread on the fields and forests. Operational limits for high-altitude flights and missions in heavy turbulence and high mountain regions should be better defined after appropriate testing.
UAVOS is a company that specializes in designing advanced, ready-for-commercialization, unmanned technologies such as the High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) Apus-Duo unmanned aerial vehicle, a multiplatform autopilot solution for converting manned vehicles of all types into unmanned, and unmanned aerial vehicles aimed at counteracting electronic warfare systems.
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