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

23 power the vehicle on and off, and to place waypoints and instruct the vehicle to follow them, specifying whether it must do so in the air or on the ground. A typical mission plan might consist of a waypoint-defined flight route, a landing point, a waypoint-defined ground route, a take-off point and a flight route home. “It all happens automatically; you don’t have to switch anything from flight mode to ground mode manually,” Weglarz explains. An extension of the server-based system, the mobile app is designed for a wider range of users, such as emergency service first responders. As such, users might not have specialised knowledge of UAV operations, and the mobile app provides fewer functions and less information than the primary mission management system, to which it will be connected by a dedicated API. The mobile app will enable first responders to check the HUUVER’s availability, request a mission and track the vehicle’s position, movements and time of arrival at a scene. It will also provide information on the mission status and the system’s health. Plans call for the app to be available for download for Android as well as iOS devices. Materials As with any air vehicle, particularly one that’s a hybrid, weight is always a critical issue, and the HUUVER programme is no exception, with materials selection playing a central part. “First, we started with some steel components for the main frame and some ABS plastic for the fuselage, but it was too heavy,” Weglarz explains. “So after some attempts to decrease its mass we changed materials, and at the moment the main frame is constructed from duralumin so it weighs much less than before. The fuselage is made from carbon fibre and aluminium, with only the axle shafts remaining steel.” Duralumin is a 2000 series aluminium copper alloy commonly used in airframes. Both the caterpillar tracks and the track wheels are 3D-printed polylactide (PLA) filament. Also known as polylactic acid, PLA is a thermoplastic polyester. Unexpectedly, the track links proved to be one of the more difficult items of the propulsion system hardware to source. They were simply not available with the combination of flexibility and durability to stand up to ground impacts and friction, for example, so the team decided to develop their own using a 3D printer fed with standard PLA filament. Initial efforts were disappointing in terms of quality, but the solution proved fairly straightforward. “One of my colleagues figured out that we could heat the filament more than recommended, so the material became more plastic,” Weglarz recalls. “At first we were a bit afraid that we would burn it, but that was not a problem and, after cooling down, the material becomes more durable. That led us to our new production process.” Within the tracks are the frameworks that support the flight motors and propellers, the track motors, belt transmission, drive sprockets and idlers. The frameworks are assembled from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic plates and separators, and are attached to the central fuselage by carbon fibre tubes front and rear. The HUUVER programme can now boast a fully operational prototype, but there are some small issues still to be resolved that are typical of the ‘childhood’ phase of product development. These include some refinement of the flight control system in the area of trim and some planned changes to the construction of the fuselage to improve water resistance. “As with every prototype vehicle there are some aesthetic details that could be improved,” Weglarz says. When these refinements are made, further testing will be required, while a production version is likely to embody other changes including weight reduction, which will require a whole test programme of its own, he adds. The next step in bringing the HUUVER to market is a series of demonstrations for potential customers, including firefighters in the Czech Republic and border guards in Austria. Uncrewed Systems Technology | June/July 2022 Although educated in the humanities, Jakub Weglarz, 34, developed a passion for engineering-related subjects as a child, constructing increasingly detailed models of military vehicles, and has built a career managing technology projects with a focus on uncrewed vehicles. After qualifying in International Relations, Political Science and History at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, he studied International Economics at Cracow’s Economics University. Starting out in project management, he was attracted to technical projects and worked on a number of them for both private and public organisations in areas including optics, IT and IoT, in addition to eight uncrewed systems efforts. These included UAVs, USVs and UGVs for monitoring, patrol and measurement missions, some developed privately and others with EU funding. In 2021 he joined DroneHub, which was leading the multi-company consortium developing the HUUVER hybrid UAV/UGV, after which he took over as manager of the project. Jakub Weglarz