Unmanned Systems Technology 018 | CES show report | ASV Global C-Cat 3 USV | Test centres | UUVs insight | Limbach L 275 EF | Lidar systems | Heliceo DroneBox | Composites

81 The DroneBox is made of ABS plastic, which is a ‘neutral’ material with respect to radio comms as any metal would disrupt radio broadcasts and reception. Like all Heliceo products, the design is carried out at the company’s headquarters, with the plastics side entrusted to a local manufacturer. The electronics assembly is also handled internally in its workshop, along with the wiring and testing. Wiring can be a significant weight cost for a UAV such as the FoxyPro6, so ensuring the minimum wiring is used without compromising reliability is a key design trade-off. Satellite navigation The DroneBox uses network RTK (real-time kinetics) to provide higher accuracy than GNSS satellite navigation alone. RTK makes use of a separate transmission that carries error data and corrects the GNSS data in the UAV. The GNSS and RTK systems are supplied by Trimble, whose GNSS centre is based in Nantes, France, close to Heliceo’s r&d facility. Former Trimble staff work at Heliceo to provide further expertise in developing positioning technology optimised for the modular DroneBox approach. The GNSS RTK antenna is also customised, and was designed by Heliceo. It is based on a commercial helix antenna for the L1/L2 band, adding a ground plane in the intermediate bulb to boost the gain and integrating a compass in the lower part to provide heading data. Connectors The choice of connector for the DroneBox was the subject of detailed research, as it is vital to the effectiveness of the whole system, says Heliceo’s CEO Jean-François Baudet. The connector is therefore very specific and was made by US company Samtec according to Heliceo’s specifications. It is highly resistant to vibration to prevent inadvertent disconnections. The connector guide must be carefully designed to prevent a crooked connection. That involves using a primary guide with metal clips, a secondary guide and a final guide end on the connector itself. Autopilot  The autopilot and flight controller were developed in France, says Baudet, with the power supply cards developed by Heliceo. The development required two years of r&d, and the design of the autopilot was the subject of a patent. Heliceo DroneBox | Digest The DroneBox allows a wide range of vehicles with a common design to be provided, from rotor craft to sea- based systems Unmanned Systems Technology | February/March 2018 The FoxyPro6 combines both VTOL and horizontal propulsion for fast coverage of agricultural areas and ease of take-off and landing (Courtesy of Heliceo)