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

37 Xer Technologies X12 and X8 | Dossier to load-drone resonances that can easily develop while flying,” Skantze adds. “We’re going to demo that with Swedish maritime search & rescue services soon. We also already have a lot of interest from the UK and other European countries in that kind of solution.” To enable safe flights in airspace potentially congested with other aircraft (crewed or otherwise), transponders will be installed. The impetus for that comes from a client’s request as well as Xer’s own internal initiative that dedicated transponders are a must-have for professional UASs that have been selected for their particularly low weight and prices. For further safety amid trees, power lines and other obstacles, a system of small Lidar sensors is installed for autonomous collision avoidance; it was designed in collaboration with an unnamed partner who had previously consulted Xer regarding autopilots. Depending on the configuration, three Lidars are installed on the front of either UAV to give a 200 m detection range ahead of its path, with a fourth Lidar pointing downwards to aid with safe landings. A plug-in from the open- source network has been used for quick integration with the PX4 autopilots. Lastly, as mentioned, a parachute is installed in the top of the hub. It is supplied by Galaxy Parachutes, in the Czech Republic, as a last-resort safety system, and has an explosive deployment mechanism to quickly launch and inflate the ’chute when the IMUs sense that the UAV is falling. “Making a high-end UAV isn’t just about pleasing end-users, the X12 and X8 also have to please the authorities, so having multiple tiers of robust safety contingencies is absolutely critical,” Skantze says. Future plans As a final point of Xer’s future r&d plans, Skantze says that in the years ahead the company is likely to develop an aircraft with an even heavier lifting capability than the X12 – around an are insufficient for real-time streaming. “We can also put on a release hook for extending or lifting things below the UAV, which is especially tough to get right due order of magnitude larger – not for urban air transport but purely for large-scale aerial logistics. His team believe that the competencies accumulated thus far would make prototyping a UAV with a payload capacity of about 200 kg to be straightforward, compared with the blank-sheet garage engineering of the company’s early days. While the X8 is reaching the market later this year, the X12 is expected to be available from early next year, with a limited supply run for trials to a handful of clients that the company has lined up. Xer expects these and the subsequent beta tests of the X8 and X12 to be extremely tough use-cases that will also yield useful data for future design and engineering iterations, particularly in treacherous maritime conditions where it is unsafe to operate helicopters. “My vision there would be to have drone pods along a troublesome coastline with automated refuelling, so that maritime rescue organisations could remotely launch one of our UAVs to fly out and survey for lost sailors or refugees with some kind of wide-area maritime surveillance payload. We can go far and quickly, while communicating real-time data back to onshore rescue coordinators,” Skantze says. “We could even mount our UAVs with loudspeakers, comms base stations and inflatable life rafts for people in need, buying critical time for the rescue services to prepare their larger scale medevac or sheltering resources.” At the time of writing, Xer had been in contact with specialised sensor manufacturers in order to research how their payloads could be optimised for a multi-rotor airframe. Other partnerships and integrations for vital mission sets are expected to follow. And while the company is sufficiently funded to take its first two UAV platforms to the market, it is also considering raising additional funds in order to expand its activities further, including integrations and development of both hardware and software. Uncrewed Systems Technology | June/July 2022 X12 Dodecacopter Battery-powered with gasoline-electric range extender Dimensions: 248 cm (maximum width) x 75 cm (height) MTOW: 60-plus kg Maximum payload capacity: 20 kg Maximum endurance: 4 hours Top airspeed: 50 kph (27 knots, 14 m/s) Maximum wind resistance: 35 knots (18 m/s) X8 Octocopter Battery-powered with gasoline- electric range extender Dimensions: 203 cm (maximum width) x 62 cm (height) MTOW: less than 25 kg Maximum payload capacity: 2 kg Maximum endurance: 2.5 hours Top airspeed: 50 kph (27 knots, 14 m/s) Maximum wind resistance: 35 knots (18 m/s) Some key suppliers CNC machining: undisclosed Carbon fibre: undisclosed Electric motors: T-Motor ESCs: T-Motor Propellers: Mejzlik Autopilots: Various PX4-based suppliers GCS: customer-defined Transponders: undisclosed Generators: Sullivan/Acutronic Safety parachutes: Galaxy Specifications