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UAV Navigation’s POLAR-300 AHRS Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis Shows an Outstanding Tolerance and Durability

UAV Navigation’s products are characterized by their robustness and reliability. This was achieved by the constant work of analysis of the performance of the products, which leads to a continuous improvement and a high level of meticulosity in the manufacturing and calibration processes before delivering the products to our clients. The data acquired during these tests are analyzed, which has helped us to know their behaviors and durability of every component inside the system better.

This process of continuous refinement is achieved by a detailed study of every single device produced by our facilities. This way, we are able to identify which of the units do not only reach the performance guaranteed on our technical specifications but also the ones that do not reach our strict quality threshold.

Besides these individual studies on UAV Navigation is committed to ensuring the quality of their systems and for that reason, the company has carried out a Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) in its POLAR-300.

The FMECA is a systematic technique used to identify and analyze the potential failure modes of the different parts of the system and the effects that may be produced in the system as a whole. This way, the analysis helps to find out how to prevent the derivative effects and mitigate the consequences in the whole system. This analysis also gives us evidence of the use of the system under an acceptable level of safety, responding to the quality commitment of the company.

The FMECA carried out has been designed in compliance with reliability standards MIL-STD-1629A and MIL-STD-882E. The first step to perform an FMECA is to characterize the system, this is, to identify the functional blocks and the relations between them, which may be represented using a block diagram (see picture 1). Using this methodology, the system is divided into simpler units, which simplifies the analysis.

Having done that, the study result has been managed using two different approaches: the quantitative analysis, based on a failure rate prediction method, and the qualitative, which places value on our experience with the POLAR-300 and may help responding to the uncertainty usually derived from reliability predictive models.

Picture 1. Functional block structure.

The FMECA of the POLAR-300 has allowed us to enhance the knowledge of the system’s performance and the life characteristics of its constituent components. The efforts made in this sense are intended for the purposes of commitment with reliability requirements and a continuous improvement towards the quality compliance of the product.

Results derived from the study show MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) over 60462 h for our POLAR-300 AHRS. The FMECA is now another evidence of the effectiveness of the POLAR-300 since it has proven that the system is able to operate without failures during a specified period under its defined operating conditions.

The conclusions drawn by the analysis may be used as a base for future analysis of the VECTOR autopilot system (both VECTOR-400 and VECTOR-600) which will include the AHRS as a subject of the study.

A full report of the test is available under request.

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UAV Navigation is a privately-owned company that has specialized in the design of flight control solutions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) since 2004. It is used by a variety of Tier 1 aerospace manufacturers in a wide range of UAV - also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or 'drones'. These include high-performance tactical unmanned planes, aerial targets, mini-UAVs and helicopters.