Unmanned Systems Technology 024 | Wingcopter 178 l 5G focus l UUVs insight l CES report l Stromkind KAT l Intelligent Energy fuel cell l Earthsense TerraSentia l Connectors focus l Advanced Engineering report

7 Platform one Aerospace manufacturer Bell Helicopters unveiled working models of its Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) at CES (writes Rory Jackson). This is a tail-sitting multi-rotor UAV designed to transition into a fixed-wing biplane by panning 90° into horizontal flight after launching vertically. Bell’s Scott Drenan said, “We are testing and flying the APT in two sizes – the APT 20, which can carry loads of up to 9 kg, and the APT 70, which can transport loads weighing up to 32 kg. “Underneath each rotor is a ‘vector thrust module’ that contains all the high-power electronics needed for the propulsion system — batteries, speed controllers, the motor and servo. And a fully integrated avionics and sensor suite is embedded into the airframe. “The APT 20 spans 152 x 91 cm, is capable of speeds of up to 100 knots and has a range of about 18 km. The APT 70 has a 274 x 183 cm footprint, can travel up to 120 knots and has a range of 30 km.” The company, which is part of Textron, also unveiled the Bell Nexus air taxi, a hybrid-electric VTOL- transition craft designed to provide Swift Filters has gained a strong foothold in the burgeoning world of UAV power plants (writes Ian Bamsey). “We built our business by accepting non-standard projects the ‘other guys’ didn’t want,” said the company’s Ned Swift. “Non-standard filtration requirements are routine for us.” The company uses stainless wire mesh, microfibre glass and cellulose to create the filters. Swift said, “We have numerous special machines as well as in-house CNC equipment to aerial transportation for small groups of people. Rather than tail-sitting and arcing into forward flight, however, it will use six ducted tiltrotors positioned along the length of the vehicle for take- off, transitioning and landing. Several partners will be involved in its development. While Bell will lead on design and production of the VTOL architecture, Safran will supply the hybrid powertrain elements, Electric Power Systems will supply the energy storage components, Thales will supply the flight computer systems, Moog will produce the control actuators accommodate modified designs, and we are happy to help with special requests and custom projects that require engineering.” He added that his company, based in Cleveland, Ohio, works closely with suppliers of aerospace fuel and lubricant systems. It has more than 40 years’ experience of making custom and element interchanges for other filter manufacturers. “We are therefore very good at figuring out what other companies do,” Swift and Garmin will be responsible for integrating the avionics and vehicle management computer. Drennan added, “We envision getting the APT to market in the early 2020s and the Bell Nexus to market by 2025. We will demo the APT system in the US in a strategic partnership with Yamato Holdings, a Japanese logistics company, later this year. “And through a contract from NASA, we will conduct BVLOS demonstrations of the APT 70 with detect-and-avoid capability, in and out of controlled airspace, in the first half of 2020.” remarked. “However, we also invent our own products.” New products particularly relevant to the UAV market include the Swift-Dri desiccant breathers, which are intended to protect stored fuel and oil from particulate and moisture contamination. Swift explained that air entering the bottom of the breather passes through layered filter media, trapping solid particles. The filtered air then passes through a bed of silica gel to remove moisture in the head space of the reservoir. Bell rings for VTOL craft Filtration solutions for all Airborne vehicles Fuel and lubricant systems Unmanned Systems Technology | February/March 2019 Bell Helicopter’s range of APTs are designed to transport loads of up to 32 kg