Uncrewed Systems Technology 044 l Xer Technolgies X12 and X8 l Lidar sensors l Stan UGV l USVs insight l AUVSI Xponential 2022 l Cobra Aero A99H l Accession Class USV l Connectors I Oceanology International 2022

21 evens out weight distribution, makes it less likely that a hit will ignite all the fuel at once, and even adds some impact absorption capability, he notes. Before joining DroneHub in 2021, Weglarz was involved in several uncrewed vehicle projects in the context of Poland’s cooperative industrial clusters. One of these was the development of an autonomous UGV to plant and tend grapevines. Others included developing UGVs for highway maintenance, maritime patrol and monitoring UAVs operating from ships, and a cooperative effort involving DroneHub in monitoring wind farms at sea. Diverse projects Working as a freelancer, he has been involved in more than 100 projects, including with local authorities on renewable energy and various Polish entities in areas such as optics and advanced materials. Working with his wife, he has raised more than e 95 million in public funding for different programmes. “I usually play the role of project manager, so I coordinate tasks, divide up work, coordinate schedules, prepare budgets, and research and write the periodic reports you have to submit when you receive public funding,” he says The job typically also includes troubleshooting, solving problems such as finding extra staff for a team, mediating in arguments and finding new components and materials to replace any that aren’t working well enough. “We work in teams, and someone has to handle these issues,” he says. “Engineers bring me their wish lists and I deal with the realities of budgets, time and so on.” Weglarz says he learns from all the technical team members he works with, but highlights brothers Lucjan and Maciej Gucma along with Rafal Gralak at the Szczecin Maritime Academy for special mention as mentors. “The brothers are great engineers in navigation and mechanical systems. I call one of them every time I have some technical doubt on another project because their knowledge is so broad in different fields, and Rafal was really key in terms of augmented reality. Together they make a wonderful team for solving technical issues.” Co-funded by the European GNSS Agency, which is part of the EUSPA space agency, the HUUVER project began at the end of 2019 and has completed its r&d phase. Around 40 people from seven organisations in five European countries contributed to its development, and are now focusing their efforts on technical improvements and getting it market-ready. Tracks and rotors The HUUVER has two tracks, each driven by its own electric motor through a belt drive system that provides two stages of reduction between the motor output shaft and the drive sprocket. It has eight vertically mounted propellers that are also powered by individual motors, and all of them are off-the-shelf items. Even with 10 motors, this is a simpler and more robust arrangement than would be possible if the same motors, or a subset of them, were to drive the propellers and the tracks through an inevitably elaborate transmission system, Weglarz argues. “A very complicated transmission is quite easy to damage, and that would bring trouble,” he says. Closely coupled and counter-rotating, the propellers are mounted inside the tracks and are quite close to the fuselage, an arrangement that makes the aerodynamics complex, so tuning the flight control algorithms to ensure good stability and control margins was a major task. Also, the control software has to both fly the vehicle and control it on the ground, Weglarz points out. “One of the main engineering challenges was combining the drive and flight modes in one device and integrating it in software to provide the full set of operational abilities,” he says. The flight control challenge centred on trimming the eight motors in all three rotational axes. The HUUVER can be seen flying on YouTube, displaying good stability and control, but achieving that was tricky. “The software took a lot of effort to trim the vehicle with enough precision to get that outcome,” he says. Challenging trim Much of the initial flight control work was done in simulation, which proved problematic in that good results Jakub Weglarz | In conversation Uncrewed Systems Technology | June/July 2022 The prototype HUUVER fitted with comms and navigation antennas on top of the body. Dedicated motors power the tracks through belt drives