Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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51 unmanned systems inside June/July 2016 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. Tom Murdock, project lead for CRACUNS, told Inside Unmanned Systems the project was meant to demonstrate that they could make a customized unmanned vehicle in a short amount of time. "Instead of buying a commer- cial vehicle and trying to adapt it to a mission, tell us what the mission is and the payload you need to f ly and we'll create a vehicle to suit." The CRACUNS is designed to remain deeply submerged for long periods of time. Vehicles could be hidden away underwater until need- ed, then, at a predetermined signal, launched to perform their mission. Murdock says the signal could be transmitted either by radio, in which case the vehicle would be tethered to a small buoy, or by acoustic signaling. After that, a CRACUNS is autonomous—it would deploy and carry out whatever instructions had been pre-loaded into it. The team tested CR ACUNS by submerg- ing it in salt water. Two months later, they hauled it up and found the vehicle still per- fectly operational. The CRACUNS team also developed a series of mini CRACUNS, a vehicle half the size of the original that can be folded into a 12-inch round tube and launched from an unmanned under- water vehicle (UUV). "It carries fewer batteries and still gives us the same amount of performance, which is huge," said APL mechanical engineer Richard Hooks. A Winning Idea Researchers at Oakland (Michigan) University's Embedded Systems Research Laboratory also believe in the power of amphibious drones. The WaterStrider snap-on pods make safe water landings possible for regular drones.

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