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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59 unmanned systems inside June/July 2016 UAS RESEARCH UPDATE damage that we have to the airframe and to see whether it might compromise safety of flight." The next step is to collide a sample UAS and UAS components with real aircraft materials, said Arterburn, using high-speed photography and other measurement techniques to capture what happens. "In other words," he said, "taking an engine off of one of those (UAS and) actually shoot it into a piece of aluminum. And what does it do? And make sure that the model, as it is showing that engine of the UAS going into a piece of aluminum—does it respond the same? At Ohio State, GE is sponsoring similar tests looking at how a big turbine engine would re- spond to a UAS f lying into it. The first phase of the air-to-air research, which has been underway since October, should be completed by the end of Septem- ber. The team has a proposal into the FA A to study general aviation and rotorcraft next year, Olivares said. There is concern within the aviation commu- nity that helicopters could be particularly vul- nerable, Arterburn said. If approved, Wichita State will do the general aviation studies and University of Alabama at Huntsville will do the model development and physical testing for he- licopter components. Air-To-Ground ASSURE is doing similar studies to assess the potential severity of drone collisions with buildings, vehicles and people. In this case it's not only about understanding how the UAS are made, Arterburn said, but also the current standards for things like building a building. What scale of UAS "could potentially put those buildings at risk for penetration or fire dam- age, etc. that might ultimately lead to a fatality." While ASSURE has been looking at a range of ground impacts, including having a drone hit a vehicle's windshield, the studies of what would happen if an unmanned aircraft hit a person are the most immediate—the results are already feeding into rules being weighed for allowing f lights over people. ASSURE provided a substantial amount of technical input to the Micro UAS Avia- tion Rulemaking Committee, Arterburn said, which delivered its recommendations to the FAA April 1. Among those recommendations was the suggestion that industry standards be developed ref lecting the potential for serious injury from a collision. An interim ASSURE report was submitted to the FAA in May. That report "as well as the modeling we're doing over the next few months will continue to in- form the rulemaking," Arterburn said. The current methodology for evaluating what happens when something falls from the sky is based on NASA studies of space debris—metrics Arterburn described as very conservative. There are also studies, he said, of nonlethal munitions that looked at how much energy can be transferred to humans without piercing their skin or killing them. "So both of those schools of thoughts—the space debris methodology and the non-lethal munition methodology—both of them are specifically not really good models of how UAS impact people." To develop a better model ASSURE has been analyzing the airf low around drones, looking at vertical dissents and horizontal drag. "We conducted some CFD (computational f luid dynamics) analysis of existing vehicles to validate our methodology, Arterburn told Inside Unmanned Systems. The team focused on those unmanned aircraft being used for commercial applications or that are included in the FAA's exemption databases. They also have been using data from a database of vehi- Photos courtesy of Wichita State University National Institute for Aviation Research ASSURE LAUNCHES MICRO AIR GROUP ASSURE is creating a micro air community to support research of interest to those working with UAS weighing 4.4 lbs or less. Companies working on related things like parachutes or other mitigations might also be interested. As envisioned, group members would have a say in the research being done by ASSURE, potentially pooling resources to tackle studies of interest to the entire community.

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