Issue 55 Uncrewed Systems Technology Apr/May 2024 Sellafield’s UAV equipment l Applied EV Blanc Robot l Battery tech l Robotican’s Goshawk l UGVs l UAVHE RW1 rotary l Roboat UVD l Autopilots l Arkeocean UVD l UMEX 2024 l CycloTech UVD

104 The sixth edition of the Unmanned Systems Exhibition (UMEX) and Simulation and Training Exhibition (SIMTEX), and the conference accompanying them, ran on January 22-25 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The largest version of the expo yet, UMEX featured a range of new products and updates for defencegrade uncrewed systems operations, a selection of which are discussed here. We last featured Xer Technologies’ X8 UAV in our 44th issue (June/July 2022), and the company exhibited the hybrid-electric multirotor at UMEX for applications such as de-mining operations and public safety, through the integration of high-end electro-optical/ infra-red (EO/IR) sensors, groundpenetrating radar (GPR) or radioactivity detection and other sniffer-type sensors. “Xer has successfully integrated the Sierra-Olympia Ventus OGI methane gas-detection sensor, and the X8 flies such payloads on a regular basis for customers in Australia, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America,” said Kristofer Skantze of Xer Technologies. “The Xer X8 is capable of flying 2.5 hours with a 3 kg payload, or with 7 kg for one hour. It has been tested with payloads in -20 C conditions, as well as in 40 C and heavy winds.” Xer Technologies developed most of the key parts of the UAV in-house, including some of the engine parts, its engine monitoring and control electronics, the power-management unit (PMU), the control software and the heating system to enable flights in very cold weather, with extensive tests and optimisations of a cooling system to enable high-temperature flights. Its software engineers focused on designing its GCS software to be able to remotely monitor engine data, and on creating flight analytical software and simulation software for pilots to train on. Volz has combined its proven, proprietary, 11-bit CAN protocol with the widely used DroneCAN (formally known as UAVCAN), integrating the latter into the firmware of its DA 15-N-CAN servo actuator. “The two CAN protocols do not interfere with each other in the servo, as one is using the 11-bit CAN mode and the other is using the 29-bit CAN mode,” explained Volz’s Mark Juhrig. “This allows customers to now use the DA 15-N with any of several flight-control computers and autopilots on the market compatible with the DroneCAN GUI, especially the open-source ones. “That means the customer can modify actuator parameters – for instance, the control-loop gains – through the DroneCAN-compatible autopilot, and also through any CAN interface supported by the DroneCAN GUI.” The company plans to add DroneCAN to the solutions across its actuator portfolio in the future, commenting that several other Volz actuators’ electronics are currently undergoing redesigns to enable integration of CAN interfaces. Hirth continues to develop its 4202 heavy-fuel engine – an 11.5 kg, twostroke, two-cylinder boxer, air-cooled and spark-ignited with dual ignition plugs. Each cylinder has a 54 mm bore and a 40 Peter Donaldson presents an in-depth report on the range of defence-grade uncrewed systems technologies on display Operational advantages April/May 2024 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Xer Technologies was among the many exhibitors at UMEX 2024, showcasing its X8 UAV for missions in areas such as de-mining and public safety (Image courtesy of Xer Technologies)