D-Dalus - an entirely new genre of aircraft arrives

2011-06-30

D-Dalus - an entirely new genre of aircraft arrives
Austrian research company IAT21 has presented a new type of aircraft at the Paris Air Show which has the potential to become aviation's first disruptive technology since the jet engine.

The D-Dalus (a play on Daedalus from Greek mythology) is neither fixed wing or rotor craft and uses four, mechanically-linked, contra-rotating cylindrical turbines, each running at the same 2200 rpm, for its propulsion.

The key to the D-Dalus' extreme maneuverability is the facility to alter the angle of the blades (using servos) to vector the forces, meaning that the thrust can be delivered in your choice of 360 degrees around any of the three axes. Hence D-Dalus can launch vertically, hover perfectly still and move in any direction, and that's just the start of the story.

Like most cars and aircraft these days, it sounds very complex but it's all controlled by computer algorithms, so it's simple joystick control for the user, and far less exacting than a helicopter to fly.

Existing rotary wing aircraft offer VTOL capabilities but have vulnerabilities which make them unsuitable for many applications. They are challenged in bad weather, at long ranges, at high speed and in operating to and from lurching platforms, such as boats in rough weather.

By contrast, D-Dalus is particularly suited for such conditions and can thrust upwards and hence "glue down" on landing, which it can also do on a moving vehicle. Indeed, landing on a moving vehicle is one of the D-Dalus' many party tricks, and it's a natural for landing on watercraft. Not surprisingly, since it initially broke cover at the Royal Aeronautical Society conference a few days ago, it has already attracted a lot of interest from military quarters.

The D-Dalus is also near-silent, and has the dynamic stability to enter buildings and handle rough weather with ease - things which existing rotorcraft simply cannot achieve. The aircraft also has a sense-and-avoid system which, in conjunction with its complete lack of vulnerable external parts (such as rotors), means it can hover in very close proximity to vertical rock faces and walls, making it suitable for search-and-rescue operations, as a surveillance drone with hover-and-stare capabilities and as a proactive tool for urban battlefield situational awareness.

The lack of vulnerable external moving parts will give a small D-Dalus-type drone the ability to fly into buildings through windows, and its unique capabilities also offer 360 degree vision, another aspect lacking in traditional rotor craft which have blind spots due to the rotors, and nowhere near the same maneuverability as the D-Dalus.

IAT21 forsees many applications based on these key new criteria - apart from being able to enter and search buildings, it could conceivably remove radioactive contamination or explosives, extract casualties, or hold and direct water hoses for fire fighters.

As it can lift heavy loads, and becomes even more efficient in doing so as it scales upwards in size, it is also envisaged as a platform for loading and unloading ships when cranes are not available.

The D-Dalus is also so simple mechanically that it needs little maintenance and requires no more maintenance expertise than an auto mechanic. It should be noted that all VTOL aircraft capable of carrying large payloads are complex and very costly to maintain.

Currently, tests are being conducted using a 120 bhp KTM engine and turbines around five feet long - and the capability of lifting a payload of 70 kg. More tests are planned over the coming weeks. IAT21 is now also working with Cranfield University in the U.K. on a larger, more powerful motor, a new hull shape for the craft, and advanced guidance and control systems.

The forces on the blade pivots are understandably huge, and in initial testing it was found that all available bearings failed, so inventor Meinhard Schwaiger, who already has more than 150 patents to his name, knuckled down and invented (and patented) his own, near-frictionless swivel-bearing to cope with the stresses.

The D-Dalus is constructed of carbon fiber, and appears to be scalable for a range of potential applications including maritime search and rescue, freight transport, operating alongside and within buildings during fires - the long term hopes for the platform include a passenger version for public transit.




Swoop Aero  The Positive Impact of Engineering

2020-04-03
Swoop Aero The Positive Impact of Engineering
Around the world, demands on the profession and practice of engineering are increasingly shifting to reflect new challenges and expectations fuelled by the pressures of globalisation and global insecurity. The role of an engineer is to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems; helping to save lives and create new technological advancements, which can improve the way we live, the way we engage in society, and the way we respond to global issues.

In the last five years, the global healthcare sector has experienced a technological transformation. Engineers have led this movement in order to develop and improve infrastructural links, healthcare facilities, and services that may support dramatic improvements to patient wellbeing, and the reliable provision of essential healthcare supplies to populations around the world. Such examples include 3D printing respiratory ventilators for patients to eliminate the shortfall, or developing an app that allows national health systems to collate data on the spread and containment of an infectious disease.

UAS Operators Cautioned to Not Disrupt Food Supply Chain During COVID-19 Pandemic by Interfering with Low-Flying Ag Aircraft

2020-04-03
UAS Operators Cautioned to Not Disrupt Food Supply Chain During COVID-19 Pandemic by Interfering with Low-Flying Ag Aircraft
ALEXANDRIA, VA – April 2, 2020 As the nation enters the upcoming growing season in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) is asking all Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators to be extra mindful of low-flying manned agricultural aircraft operations.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared crop input services to be an essential service during the pandemic. Aerial applicators are inputting nutrients, seeds and crop protection products to crops that will become consumers’ food and fiber supply. We cannot afford even a small disruption in the nations food supply chain during this critical time,” said Andrew Moore, Chief Executive Officer of NAAA. Agricultural aviators perform applications on 28% of cropland nationwide, and their work cannot be delayed because of an unidentified UAS not yielding to them, as is required by law.

First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge Now Open

2020-04-03
First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge Now Open
The National Institute of Standards and Safety Public Safety Communications Research has launched the First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge with prize offerings totalling $552,000. UAS Challenge opened on April 1 for proposal submissions through the website.

The challenge, which will be hosted by ASU Research Enterprise, in partnership with Capital Consulting Corporation in April 2021, was created to crowd-source inventive drone designs that will support first responders. The first window to receive team funding for the challenge extends through April 30.

The result of the First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge will support the public safety community and its stakeholders.

Amazon Hires ex-Boeing Exec to Run Prime Air

2020-04-02
Amazon Hires ex-Boeing Exec to Run Prime Air
Amazon has hired a former Boeing executive to run its Prime Air drone delivery business, signaling the retail giant’s plans to expand the unit so that it can eventually start flying regular 30-minute shipments to customers homes.

David Carbon, who left the troubled airline manufacturer amid problems at the factory he ran, joined Amazon this month, according to a company statement. He succeeds Gur Kimchi, who had run Prime Air for the past seven years. Kimchis LinkedIn profile says he continues to work at Amazon.

Pix4D presents the next generation of photogrammetry and analytics software

2020-04-02
Pix4D presents the next generation of photogrammetry and analytics software
Photogrammetry leader Pix4D is announcing today the commercial release of next-generation software addressing the modern-day professional challenges. Developed in close collaboration with customers and partners, Pix4Dsurvey, Pix4Dmatic, Pix4Dinspect, and Pix4Dscan will contribute to revolutionizing the way professional customers operate and deliver their services.

Digital photogrammetry is an essential part of every modern surveyor’s toolkit and has contributed to launching hundreds of new drone mapping businesses around the world.

Pix4Dsurvey and Pix4Dmatic represent the next step in photogrammetry, addressing major challenges in the geospatial industry.

FlytBase and DroneLogBook Partner to Simplify Live, Remote Drone Operations

2020-04-02
FlytBase and DroneLogBook Partner to Simplify Live, Remote Drone Operations
FlytBase, Inc. and DroneLogBook are excited to partner together to help drone operators, service providers and system integrators automate and scale their UAV operations.

The growth of the global commercial drone industry, led by US-based enterprises, federal agencies and tech startups, is expected to accelerate as hardware gets commoditized, regulators remain proactive, and intelligent software enables an increasing number of use-cases. Seamless integration of hardware, software and services will power this growth – the drone ecosystem is fast maturing to provide this to enterprises who are keen to adopt UAVs to create business value.

FlytBase, Inc. provides drone agnostic software solutions to automate and scale drone operations. The FlytBase technology platform allows easy deployment of intelligent drone fleets, connected with cloud-based business applications. FlytBase offerings are compatible with major drone hardware platforms (eg. DJI, Ardupilot, PX4) and come with SDKs, simulator and APIs for reliable testing and seamless integration. FlytBase customers range from sectors such as public safety and energy utilities to warehouses, distribution centers, and air cargo facilities.

Drones are the Ideal Tool for Keeping the Economy Moving Despite Social Distancing. Heres How.

2020-04-02
Drones are the Ideal Tool for Keeping the Economy Moving Despite Social Distancing. Heres How.
As quarantines, shutdowns, and social distancing regulations are implemented around the globe to deal with the current pandemic, drone companies are stepping up to do what they can. Drones are an ideal tool to keep business going despite social distancing measures – but service providers say that they could do much more. Read on for a deep dive on how the drone industry is participating in response to current global challenges; and what needs to happen next.

The following is a guest post by Grant J. Guillot, who leads the Unmanned Aircraft Systems practice at the regional law firm of Adams and Reese LLP. DRONELIFE neither accepts nor makes payment for guest posts.

Northrop Grumman moves to LW30 PROX qualification, M-ACE CUAS testing

2020-04-01
Northrop Grumman moves to LW30 PROX qualification, M-ACE CUAS testing
Northrop Grumman Defense Systems has completed US government testing of its programmable Light Weight 30 mm Proximity Sensing Ammunition (LW30 PROX) round, and is moving towards qualification and fielding of the round to US Army and US Marine Corps air defence echelons within the year.

A company-funded development, which draws on legacy Orbital ATK sensor fuzed weapons technologies, the LW30 PROX is a 30×113 mm radio frequency (RF) proximity-fuzed, high explosive/fragmentation round intended for use with Northrop Grumman M230 Bushmaster variant chain guns (M230, M230 Link Fed, and XM914). Weighing 350 g, including a 245 g projectile, the LW30 PROX round features a PA520 electric primer, a Northrop Grumman-developed programmable proximity sensor, and double base propellant delivering a muzzle velocity of 1,105 m/s.

Zipline: Drones Could Begin Helping U.S. Hospitals Respond to Covid-19 Now

2020-03-31
Zipline: Drones Could Begin Helping U.S. Hospitals Respond to Covid-19 Now
Drone delivery heroes Zipline are already performing thousands of lifesaving drone delivery flights every day in Africa.
The world’s largest drone delivery network, Zipline can boast more than 1 million autonomous commercial delivery miles flown. They are the worlds experts on delivering medical supplies like vaccines, blood and critical medicines, regardless of environment.
They know how to set up bases, scale operations quickly, and work with regulatory agencies. When a base is established, says Zipline, “Each base can make up to 150 deliveries a day, and autonomously micro-target the delivery of more than two tons of cargo a week across an 8,000 sqm area…We can fly more than 20 drones at a time from each base simultaneously taking off, landing and delivering to separate points across an 8,000 square mile area.”

UniSA working on pandemic drone to detect coronavirus

2020-03-30
UniSA working on pandemic drone to detect coronavirus
A ‘pandemic drone’ to remotely monitor and detect people with infectious respiratory conditions is being developed by the University of South Australia (UniSA) in partnership with a Canadian company.

The drone will be fitted with a specialised sensor and computer vision system that can monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates, as well as detect people sneezing and coughing in crowds, offices, airports, cruise ships, aged care homes and other places where groups of people may work or congregate.


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