There are two main stages to setting up a UAV Navigation autopilot (AP) in a customer's aircraft:
Integration. Includes the correct mechanical and electrical installation.
Adaptation. Covers the adjustment of the AP's software in order to control the UAV.
Integration is the subject of this article. It is a process normally carried out by the client with remote support provided by UAV Navigation engineers. Alternatively, UAV Navigation can provide integration as a service.
Should it be necessary, UAV Navigation also offers an Integration Course during which the client may acquire the skills needed to integrate an autopilot.
Experienced UAV Navigation engineers are available to assist the client’s technical team during the integration of the autopilot into the platform.
The Integration Process begins with the mechanical installation of the autopilot. At this stage UAV Navigation engineers can provide recommendations for anti-vibration mounts, depending on the platform type and characteristics. In order to obtain the best possible autopilot performance, the vibrations transmitted to the autopilot must be minimized. Different damping solutions may be tested in order to arrive at the optimum solution.
Once mechanically installed, the autopilot must be connected electrically to the other related onboard components. Different subsystems and components (e.g. Engine Control Unit, transponder, datalink, camera, GPS antenna, Air Data System (ADS) etc.) are correctly set up and linked, and the autopilot is configured to communicate and control the different payloads and sensors. Again, should the client wish to carry out this integration process, UAV Navigation engineers will be available for advice.
For the final part of the Integration Process, the engine may be started in order to verify that the data collected by all sensors is correct also with the engine running.
The goal of the Integration Process is to leave the platform ready and validated for the Adaptation Process.
Outsourcing a Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) & Flight Control Services Providers
- Proven robustness and performance achieved thanks to previous professional projects.
- Reduce costs in expertise and years of development. The outsourced company already invested in them.
- The outsourcing team is already trained. Therefore you can also save this cost.
- A team of experts ready to help you, bringing all its experience to the project.
- A team of expert GNC engineers is at your disposal. You do not have to worry about retaining a dedicated team.
- Avoid the need to keep yourself updated with the same level of detail as a specialized company.
- Quick and outstanding results in a short period of time, reducing the project's time to market.
- The team of experts can suggest improvements to the project.
- Benefit from qualified hardware and software required to control your platform autonomously.
- The team can help you adapt the solution to your equirements.
- Resolve doubts and potential issues with long-term service support.
- Avoid team distractions from your business core tasks while developing the GNC.
- Your internal team are the only ones to know the specific requirements to develop the GNC.
- The Intellectual Property (IP) of the GNC does not belong to your company.
- If a potential issue arises your company depends on an external team.
- Third-party providers may have other business priorities. Other projects or developments can monopolize the team's attention, delaying the start of your project.
- You will have to share some valuable or confidential information about the project with the service provider.
- Not all companies have the relevant and trustworthy experience to deliver your project successfully. It should have a very well-trained team with an outstanding industry background.
- Time to market or to finish the project stage cannot be reduced to zero, as the outsourced team should know and understand the external platform specifics.