Issue 45 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Aug/Sept 2022 Tidewie USV Tupan | Performance monitoring | Bayonet 350 | UAVs insight | Xponential 2022 | ULPower UL350i and UL350iHPS | Elroy Air Chaparral | Gimbals | Clogworks Dark Matter

38 M onitoring the performance of uncrewed systems is evolving. The increasing number of sensors in a platform, with more integrated electronics to provide data about system performance, is driving up the complexity of designs, and is leading to new comms protocols to transmit the data. The use of AI and machine learning (ML) is growing as well. That can help UAV operators improve the performance of their systems, and provide data for autonomous monitoring. Also, new materials are allowing sensors to have greater physical flexibility and enabling more effective ways to connect them up. They are providing different ways of reliably monitoring the performance of systems as well. One prime example is nanocarbon graphene platelets, which in different sizes provide the ability to print sensors on or even inside composite structures, and connected to printed antennas. With the nanocarbon platelets in paint rather than using aluminium casings, the sensors can then be shielded from EMI for more reliable sensing, saving weight in airborne systems. The platelets and the printing process can even be tuned to allow a frequency window for the wireless comms while shielding the sensors from unwanted signals to boost the signal-to-noise ratio. Printing sensors The platelet-based material can be used to print ultra-sensitive, non-metallic sensors such as strain gauges, gas sensors or temperature sensors. This allows them to be printed where they are required, for example in hotspots or on key surfaces such as ailerons or inside the engine. The non-metallic nature of the platelets also means that sensors made from them are less susceptible to corrosion in harsh environments. The platelets also have a Nick Flaherty reports on the latest developments in ways to monitor the performance of uncrewed systems Health and safety August/September 2022 | Uncrewed Systems Technology A printed strain gauge enables condition monitoring in composite materials (Courtesy of Advanced Material Development)