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

94 T he number of connections needed in an uncrewed vehicle for power and comms means that connector designs often reflect the nature of the vehicle itself. Lighter connectors help to make it less heavy, for example, while more rugged ones help it to better withstand turbulence and accidental impacts, and less costly ones contribute to bringing down its price point. It should come as no surprise then that as the autonomous world becomes more sophisticated and right-sized for users in various markets, connector designs are showing improvements in a range of capabilities. For instance, some now have usage lifetimes of up to 10,000 mating cycles, enabling reductions in costs associated with part turnover and storage, and others are being designed with ever smaller sizes to suit more compact vehicles. Others still can handle far higher power than is typical for the industry, to better serve the hybrid- electric and long-endurance vehicles designed for long-range logistics and survey missions. This evolution is due in no small part to a growing number of connector manufacturers involving their engineers with uncrewed systems OEMs early in the design cycles of new products. That has yielded greater information on the OEMs’ engineering and operational goals, as qualities and parameters of the connectors throughout their architectures will affect such goals dramatically. As such, connectors can be swiftly designed and developed for an exact purpose, whether it be size, weight, power, cost and so on. Marine connectors Among our previous articles investigating connectors ( UST 24, February/ March 2019, for example) much of the discussion has centred on ways to make them more suitable for UAVs – that is, ways of making them lighter and in some cases smaller. And while the UAV industry continues to grow, in many ways the pace of growth in the maritime world has outpaced that in the airborne sector, hence a considerable number of innovations in marine connectors have appeared over the past few years. UUV connectors are particularly challenging to engineer well. While weight is less of a problem for underwater vehicles than for aircraft, the Uncrewed vehicles have particular needs regarding their internal connections, which suppliers are now meeting. Rory Jackson reports Secure in the knowledge New generations of connectors with higher power, lifetimes and environmental tolerances are becoming available to the autonomous and uncrewed world (Courtesy of Fischer) June/July 2022 | Uncrewed Systems Technology