Firm im­presses with fully-au­to­mated, so­lar-pow­ered air­craft

New Straits Times - - News -

LANGKAWI: Though it had one of the smaller booths at the Mah­suri In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre, UAVOS Inc was not short of vis­i­tors.

There was a steady stream of peo­ple to the Sil­i­con Val­ley­based com­pany’s booth, a rel­a­tively good showing for one of the lesser-known ex­hibitors.

Most were at­tracted by the model of a so­lar-pow­ered air­craft with a wing­span of 10m hang­ing above the booth, some by the small he­li­copter drone on the side. Many, if not all, left im­pressed by what the com­pany had to of­fer.

The air­craft with the 10m wing­span is an Apus High Al­ti­tude Pseudo-Satel­lite (HAPS) air­craft, the small­est of the com­pany’s three Apus air­craft. They have 30m and 50m wing­span air­craft as well, and while the small­est one can carry a pay­load of only 1kg, these two have 8kg and 50kg pay­loads, re­spec­tively.

UAVOS board mem­ber Vadim Tarasov said this was the first fully-au­to­mated, so­lar-pow­ered air­craft in its cat­e­gory. Many other com­pa­nies had tried and failed to build such an air­craft.

“There is a lot of tech­nol­ogy parked in these air­craft. It can fly be­tween 12km and 20km above the earth for months in a row.

“One of the most in­no­va­tive things about it is that it has a flex­i­ble, seg­mented wing that au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justs to wind speed and pres­sure to re­duce tur­bu­lence, thus mak­ing it a sta­ble plat­form.”

Tarasov told the New Sun­day Times that the air­craft uses a “fairly ba­sic” battery that has a 22 per cent fail­ure rate.

Though this is rel­a­tively low, he said, the com­pany was work­ing to make it bet­ter.

“(The Apus) can be used for a va­ri­ety of pur­poses, both mil­i­tary and civil­ian, in­clud­ing sur­veil­lance, data col­lec­tion and even sig­nal trans­mis­sion or jam­ming.”

The com­pany also show­cased a gaso­line-pow­ered drone he­li­copter, the UVH-29E, which is also fully au­to­mated.

It comes with high-per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics and can fly at high al­ti­tudes in dif­fi­cult weather con­di­tions. The un­manned he­li­copter, weigh­ing only 22kg, can reach speeds of up to 150kph, and fly up to six hours and up to 500km.

The un­manned he­li­copter sys­tem is in­tended for sur­veil­lance, mon­i­tor­ing of vast ar­eas of the Earth, wa­ter, ice sur­face, as well as anti-drone pro­tec­tion.

Per­haps one of UAVOS’s most in­ter­est­ing prod­ucts, how­ever, is its unique au­to­matic con­trol sys­tem (ACS), which, upon in­te­gra­tion into any type of UAV (un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle) or even manned air­planes and he­li­copters, can be­come a fully-au­to­mated un­manned air­craft.

ACS pro­vides fully au­to­matic, pre­cise con­trol of the air­craft on taxi­ing, take off, flight and land­ing on a run­way.

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