Uncrewed Systems Technology 046

76 Show report | DroneX 2022 controls the thrust’s direction and magnitude, while the thruster maintains a constant speed and direction of rotation. “The need to alter the position of the hub enables only very rapid vectoring,” Hofreither said. “We want to show in the autumn this year that we can decouple the flight path and the flight attitude of a UAV,” Hofreither said. “We want to demonstrate that it can take off and put itself at 30 º in the air and it will hold still, for example.” The system is designed for urban eVTOL platforms as well as UAVs, and rather than building its own aircraft, CycloTech intends to work with partners who want to use the system on theirs. Parcel delivery provider Yamato, for example, plans a UAV with six CycloRotors to enable it to counter gusts from any direction. Hofreither said the flight control software is one of the biggest challenges the company is facing, because the working principle is very different from those of more familiar concepts. “We had to develop our own flight control system from scratch, so the algorithm in the background is unique. We are working with the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich on the flight dynamics, and the project has been running for 2 years,” he added. LightWare, a specialist in miniature Lidars for use in navigation, altitude measurement, simultaneous localisation and mapping, sense & avoid and position-holding functions, revealed a new landing Lidar designed as a lighter, less costly alternative to RGB camera- based systems. “It’s a 3D Lidar, so it scans at 30 º x 30 º downward onto a landing zone, and can tell you if it is safe to land,” said Philip Constantine. “Some solutions use cameras, but you need a very expensive, powerful computer and multiple cameras to survey a landing zone using RGB.” He explained that because Lidar is an active sensing technology it doesn’t need ambient light, and that the safety evaluation capability is built in. “All the processing happens on the unit, and it will evaluate a landing zone and give you a binary response – yes you can land; no you can’t,” he said. LightWare offers Lidars priced at $280- 1000, and has fielded around 50,000 units. The simplest are 1D sensors that measure the distance to a single point at a time, and have no moving parts, such as the company’s smallest Lidar, the thumb-sized SF000, which weighs 8.5 g and measures distances from 0.2 m to 50 m. Then come the 2D sensors that scan a single beam through a 320 º arc. “We do that in an oscillating manner with our SF45 so that it can be used for obstacle avoidance, detecting trees, buildings and power lines and so on, and at 56 g it is very light,” Constantine said. Most capable of all are the 3D Lidars that cover the x , y and z axes and generate a 3D image from points at precisely measured distances from the sensor. All the company’s Lidars meet Class 1M eye safety standards and use high- grade LEDs that emit light at 905 nm, carefully controlling the amplitude and pulse length to maintain both eye safety and range performance, Constantine said. The other core components are the transmitting lens, the receiving lens and the avalanche photodiode detector, supported by other hardware such as optical filtering. “The optics are very important in terms of how the beam is shaped and focused,” he noted. Next in line is the firmware that processes the signal. “Most of the magic happens in the firmware, where the algorithms discern what is noise and what is a real signal.” The processed signal is then sent to the comms module for use by the autopilot. “We integrate directly with Cube and Pixhawk, and we have standard drivers for ArduPilot and PX4,” he said. Edge Autonomy displayed its twin- boom, fixed-wing Penguin C VTOL and hinted at the capabilities of a new version that the company plans to offer within months. Powered in horizontal flight by an October/November 2022 | Uncrewed Systems Technology CycloTech’s CycloRotor The SF000 Lidar from LightWare