Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 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 April/May 2018 unmanned systems inside If there is, the sensors send a signal that the ro- tor speed needs adjusted. The flight itself is very stable." This type of environmental monitoring is only possible because the aircraft is electri- cally driven, Treeck said. Combustion engines, for example, are not able to adjust rotor speed quickly enough. On the Volocopter, it can be adjusted almost in real time, which is made possible through Intel technology. The small rotors help keep noise levels down (the Volocopter is quieter than a helicopter, which has fewer but larger rotors and single points of failure) and because it is battery powered, the aircraft doesn't have any emis- sions—both key features for public acceptance of these air taxis. The Volocopter team began developing the aircraft in 2011, and has completed success- ful autonomous test f lights in Dubai. Late last year, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich became the first passenger to f ly in a Volocopter. The remotely piloted f light took place in an exhibi- tion hall in Germany. Airbus is working on two systems, and com- pleted a demonstration of its Vahana single passenger eVTOL in January, Thomsen said. The Alpha One, the first full-scale version of the Vahana, f lew to a height of 16 feet for 53 seconds before it safely descended. The aircraft completed a second self- piloted f light the next day. The team that de- veloped the system, A2 in Silicon Valley, was able to take the aircraft from concept to f light in less than two years. Alpha One is designed with a tilt wing, can take off vertically and uses the wing to generate lift. More f light demon- strations are planned for later this year. Airbus is also developing a multi-rotor with four propulsion units and eight propellers. Known as CityAirbus, that system is designed to carry upwards of four passengers. Its first demonstration is expected to take place later this year. WE WANT THIS TO BECOME PART OF THE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, SO IT MUST BE AFFORDABLE. IT'S NOT LIKE A PRIVATE JET, BUT MORE LIKE THE COST OF A CAB." VOLOCOPTER'S TEST FLIGHTS IN DUBAI A robust UTM system is vital to making UAM possible, and is something NASA and many others are working on, said Helena Treeck, who is in charge of public relations at Volocopter. The German-based manufacturer recently began performing test flights in Dubai with the government "Roads and Transport Authority" (RTA). For the flights, the system is integrated into the Emirates air traffic management system. Team members could see all the other flights and could communicate with other aircraft. The first autonomous flight was completed last September during a demonstration for his highness Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Volocopter autonomously flew 500 meters in 8 minutes and reached a height of 60 meters. Dubai plans to handle 25% of all of its passenger travel via autonomous transportation by 2030. Helena Treeck, senior global manager public relations, Volocopter "

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