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

52 In operation | Robotican’s Goshawk counter-UAV The Smart Nest’s critical functions include safe housing of the Goshawk against weather and other environmental sources of wear, an automated door for opening or closing over the vehicle (with minimum maintenance requirements for the electric motors governing the door), monitoring the UAV’s health between operations and recharging its battery. “Monitoring and recharging are carried out in an automated way inside the Nest, such that it keeps the UAV ready for its next flight, with defence customers in particular being really insistent that the UAV has to be ready to launch at a moment’s notice,” Balshai says. “The door is designed to open within six seconds of a threat detection signal being delivered to the Smart Nest, and the monitoring system is designed to prime the UAV for take-off within that same timeframe. For defence-type or similar kinds of site deployments where a threat spells a really urgent response requirement, the embedded monitoring software works in a standby mode.” In that mode, the Goshawk is always powered-on in a steady way for all hours of the day and night, its subsystems being checked to pre-clear it for potential flight within a few moments. This makes its usage and power cycling quite different from the commercial drone-in-a-box use-case, in which one can picture UAVs stationed at an industrial asset taking off once a week at most for mapping and inspection flights, with their batteries preserved at a lifespan-extending 60% state of charge (SoC) between those flights and all their avionics switched off or routinely power-cycled. “Our UAV doesn’t get that kind of downtime – a hostile drone attack could come at any moment. We’ve had to rethink and reengineer the usual way of doing drone boxes so our Smart Nest will always open successfully, always seal against dust and weather properly, and always monitor accurately. It contains redundancies for electricity, battery recharging, switching between generators or grid connections depending on how power is run to it, and many related areas,” Balshai adds. Each Smart Nest integrates a meteorological station for tracking weather conditions over its UAV, as well as radios and antennas for communicating over a data link configured to the customer’s preferred frequency band and encryption. Therefore, if conditions overhead are not fit for a safe take-off and expedient flight, it can communicate via a neighbouring Smart Nest if the use of a mesh network is required to a flight operations and monitoring team using Robotican’s mission-management software. The Interception Management System The company’s software interface for flight monitoring, fleet management, and mission planning and configuration is the Interception Management System (IMS). Its capacity for plug-ins is designed such that it is agnostic to the form of detection system, so any end-user – regardless of their radar, signals intelligence (SIGINT), machine vision, thermal or other sensor network – can integrate their security network into the IMS, so long as a digital alert (preferably automated, per the autonomous nature of the Goshawk) can be triggered and delivered to it. “Through the IMS, and the wireless links to the Smart Nests and Goshawks, the monitoring team can bring up displays of all Interceptors’ live aerial April/May 2024 | Uncrewed Systems Technology The Smart Nest is Robotican’s mobile and automated solution for the Goshawk’s safe storage, charging, landing and takeoff