Unmanned Systems Technology 038 l Skyeton Raybird-3 l Data storage l Sea-Kit X-Class USV l USVs insight l Spectronik PEM fuel cells l Blue White Robotics UVIO l Antennas l AUVSI Xponential Virtual 2021 report

34 R eliability is a key issue for data storage in unmanned systems, from the reliability of connectors and solder joints to the wear of individual memory cells in solid-state drives. This extends all the way to the size, weight and power (SWaP) of the storage system. These systems need to be as small as possible, but growing storage requirements mean their power consumption and temperatures are rising, again impacting on their reliability. Adding multiple levels of encryption to ensure the security of the data also increases power consumption and temperatures. These issues are addressed in a number of ways. A basic part of a storage system’s specification is choosing connectors that are resistant to the high levels of vibration encountered in unmanned systems. But similar vibration requirements are necessary for the memory subsystem that could be soldered onto a board in a flight data recorder in a UAV, or on a Lidar sensor in a UGV that has to store billions of bits in a point cloud. The data storage can also be a ‘black box’ solution that stores the state of the system in the event of an accident for forensic analysis later. This naturally requires an extremely rugged system design. The data storage system in the body of an unmanned system can also be required to support large amounts of video data from high-resolution cameras. This can require Network Attached Storage (NAS), which as the name suggests is attached to a high-bandwidth network such as Ethernet. Consumer SD cards are widely used in automotive designs for infotainment storage or video, but the requirements for UGVs are much greater. The choice of memory system also depends on the storage architecture of the unmanned system. Some architectures require large amounts of centralised storage, or multiple redundant drives connected to the network, while others use a decentralised architecture with individual storage close to the sensors. An uncontrolled event such as a crash requires the ability to reconstruct how it Nick Flaherty reports on how data storage system developers are meeting the demands for greater reliability and capacity Held in safekeeping The demand for more reliable data storage has driven the development of non-volatile modules with specialist rugged memory (Courtesy of SwissBit) June/July 2021 | Unmanned Systems Technology