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

76 I t was noted in our previous focus on antennas ( UST 19, April/May 2018) that unmanned vehicle manufacturers were prone to leaving their selection and integration until the very end of platform development cycles, leading to fundamental problems with achieving consistent comms, video links and satellite navigation. By and large, this practice does not seem to have changed. Unmanned systems engineers (as well as engineers across mobility, IoT and broadcast entertainment) are still in the habit of comparing different antennas’ datasheets late in the day, and integrating them roughly to fit aerodynamics and ruggedness requirements before running tests and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the ways in which antennas radiate energy throughout the dynamic operations and environments of unmanned systems can scarcely be captured in laboratory tests, let alone in datasheets. Evaluating how different antennas will perform in specific fuselages, airspaces and so on requires considerable investigation before integration. Otherwise, the platform developer risks not only driving up their r&d costs and timeline, they could fail to deliver to customers on promises of live aerial HD video streaming, point-to-point tracked logistics and centimetre-accurate mapping, inspection or search & rescue services. Furthermore, antenna manufacturers are acutely aware that unmanned systems have a finite amount of power, so they have made considerable advances over the past few years to fit their products to this limited constraint (in addition to improving on cost, size, weight and performance requirements). For example, as unmanned vehicles With antenna technologies having to work across a growing range of radio bands, Rory Jackson looks at recent advances in their capabilities Band masters June/July 2021 | Unmanned Systems Technology Advances in MIMO technology are leading to antenna assemblies that combine multiple omnidirectional elements, better enabling the use of mobile ad hoc network radios on unmanned systems (Courtesy of Southwest Antenna)