Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2018

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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ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. 37 October/November 2018  unmanned systems inside W hen Texa s A&M Universit y- Corpus Christi graduate student Daniel Valdenegro started think- ing about his senior design capstone project last year, he knew he wanted to focus on mak- ing drones safer to f ly. His idea? Creating a propulsion system inspired by Dyson's blade- less fan design. Valdenegro went to work on the project with the help of Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo. From the start, the main goal was to reduce the hazards associated with the exposed pro- pellers found on many unmanned aircraft sys- tems (UAS), he said. Developing a bladeless drone comes with a variety of challenges, Garcia Carrillo said, and while they've made progress over the last year or so, they still have a long way to go. "In a sense, this is like a quadcopter but with a completely different propulsion sys- tem," Garcia Carrillo said. "The blades are all internal. That makes it much more challeng- ing to develop than a conventional quadcop- ter, but it also makes it much safer, which is the ultimate goal." DESIGN AND INITIAL TESTS The system works much like a Dyson blade- less fan, but is designed to create more thrust, Valdenegro said. Bladeless fan cross-section ge- ometry, airf low properties, impellers, motors, ducted fans and conventional quadcopter dy- namic modeling were all used in the propulsion Researchers at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are working to develop a safer drone that uses bladeless thrusters rather than propellers to fly. GOING BLADELESS by Renee Knight system's design. Based on their research into bladeless fan design, the team of four developed a nozzle that attaches to an Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) to create a bladeless thruster prototype. The nozzle is a circular ring with the cross section of an airfoil that's designed to induce an airf low from its surroundings through the ring. The prototype's four bladeless thrusters all push the forces created by the motor to control the system. The thrusters were 3-D printed and tested with the EDF. The team has completed two tests so far: one consisting of two thrusters to determine the stability of the propulsion system in one de- gree of freedom, testing pitch or roll angles of a multi-rotor, and a second that included four thrusters to test stability in three degrees of freedom, which tests for pitch, roll and yaw. BLADELESS SYSTEMS SHARING THEIR WORK GRAD STUDENT DANIEL VALDENEGRO and Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo—both of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi—presented a paper on their bladeless fan design at the 2018 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems in June. The paper was titled Improving Safety: Design and Development of a Bladeless Thruster for Autonomous Multi-Copters." Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi " BLADELESS PROPULSION SYSTE CAN PUSH WITH ITS OWN BODY. THIS IS VERY INTERESTING."

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