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34 I t is no secret that UAVs have power and engineering requirements that set them apart from the automotive and general aviation worlds. No unmanned aircraft can integrate a minimally modified motorcycle or lawnmower engine, for example, and be realistically expected to perform safely or competitively. With the rapid growth in new types of engine designed specifically for UAVs, the ancillary componentry that surrounds them – to provide them with fuel, air, lubricant, exhaust outlet, cooling and electrical power – is also evolving to suit the needs of the sector. That is thanks to technological progress in three principal areas. For one, additive manufacturing (AM) is allowing faster prototyping of new components as well as innovative new designs for optimising the dynamics of cooling fluids and exhaust noise. Second, to produce these designs, improvements in CAD and CFD software have also been vital, with UAV systems engineers using test data and their own skills to fill in the frequent gaps between simulated models and reality. Third, testing and operating these engine systems can now be carried out more reliably thanks to the growing prevalence of CAN bus in the industry. This has opened up new fields of control, diagnostics and analytics for some of the most vulnerable ancillary components. Rory Jackson charts the latest advances in engine ancillary systems and explains how they will benefit UAVs Support group CAN bus improves servo control and diagnostics – key factors for actuating throttles, given the high temperature and vibrations they undergo (Courtesy of Currawong Engineering) April/May 2020 | Unmanned Systems Technology