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

30 The sixth generation incorporates numerous tunings aimed at functional safety, as well as suitable capacity for inputs and outputs – and sufficient future-proofing – for integration with a broad range of sensor architectures, powertrains, and power and signal network buses. The resulting control system architecture and product design for vehicles is equipped with redundant subsystems to fulfil the requirements for safety integrity levels, up to ASIL-D, with fail-operational safe states. The Digital Backbone is presently capable of up to 1000 I/Os (input/ output operations per second), with 22 controller area network (CAN) buses configured to ASIL-D standards for automotive users to connect and prioritise devices with the Digital Backbone’s functions. The high number of I/Os is intended to fully enable endintegrators to program as much software of their own as they could possibly want. “Over the first five generations, we developed the fundamentals of the system to make it functionally safe, so that is really what has greenlit us to create APIs and pathways for others to write specific and unique software features and applications into our software-defined vehicles, which many are very keen to do,” Broadbent says. As an example of the kinds of changes that would be enacted between subversions, the Gen 6.1 saw a tractionbattery unit (TBU) integrated into the Digital Backbone, but subsequent versions also incorporated safety-rated energy systems to increasingly comply with regulations. Additionally, the Gen 6.2 version incorporated a new battery management system (BMS); something critical for and linked to a new battery that had been integrated into the standard Blanc Robot (with the sole communication between the Digital Backbone and that BMS occurring via a CAN interface). The Blanc Robot, also in its sixth generation, has undergone gradual architectural improvements in areas such as battery configuration, brake components and other drivetrain qualities. “Today, the overall vehicle is built from approximately 90% Applied EV components and 10% externally supplied parts. Although we designed it with automotive-grade safety compliance in mind, prototyping and low-volume builds currently come with a large development cost per unit,” Broadbent observes. “So, for future production of the Gen 6 and beyond, we decided to speak with one of our key partners and investors, Suzuki Motor Corporation, which makes a similarsized vehicle, and they agreed to be our manufacturer towards mass production. “As we have gone through generations, we’ve sought to move away from making small numbers of high-end complex systems towards a massmarket automotive approach – one that turns the production side of things into something simplified and repeatable, so we can focus on our technology.” Blanc Robot anatomy The Gen 6 Blanc Robot measures about 4 m long, 1.7 m wide, and 80 cm tall, and based on its current production process, it is comparable to a Suzuki 4WD Jimny April/May 2024 | Uncrewed Systems Technology The Blanc Robot is constructed by Applied EV first taking the ladder frame of the Suzuki Jimny and then converting it into an autonomous electric system Exhaustive tests at the component and vehicle level for EM radiation, temperature, vibration and more have been performed to safety-rate Applied EV’s tech Dossier | Applied EV Blanc Robot UGV