Since 2004, UAV Navigation has provided complete flight control solutions for rotary-wing platforms of all configurations and sizes. Current clients include manufacturers of conventional helicopters, intermeshing blade designs, coaxials, tandem rotors and multirotor designs.
The system is capable of controlling rotary wing designs of all sizes — from smaller platforms the weigh under twenty kilograms to those with an MTOW of 1,361 kilograms and more. As you may have figured out, UAV Navigation’s autopilots can be used for many different platform types; the same hardware is used but different software is loaded.
UAV Navigation has developed an advanced Hardware In the Loop (HIL) simulator to minimize risk during the development phase of a project. Upon receiving a client request, our engineers can simulate the client's platform in order to produce a set of gains specifically tailored to its flight characteristics.
The autopilot takes care of all the basic tasks of flying the platform safely, including fully auto take-off and landing, Return-To-Base, multiple waypoints, hover, etc. In addition to the basics, the autopilot can also interact with a wide variety of payloads, including complex gyro-stabilized gimbals (DST, UAV Vision, Octopus, etc.), transponders, laser altimeters, radar altimeters and laser designators for advanced functions such as geo-referenced pointing and target tracking.
The solution includes an advanced Flight Plan Editor to plan your mission including actions on waypoints, create flight profiles relative to moving references or memorize multiple flight plans including alternative and emergency landing plans. The autopilot also allows for the modification of the flight plan even if the aircraft is on flight.
Other Special Features for Rotary Wing Platforms
- Compact unit. No external sensors, Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) or Mission Management Computer are required - they are integrated within the same box.
- Capable to fly similarly to a fixed wing platform. The autopilot takes account of the prevailing wind condition and controls the helicopter to follow the track whilst maintaining the most efficient profile, pointing the nose into the wind.
- Integrated governor. The autopilot features a built-in governor which is able to take readings directly from an RPM sensor. This allows the autopilot to manage engine power in order to maintain optimum RPM in all flight modes and phases of the mission. This function also allows the autopilot to manage completely automatic spool up of the rotor before take-off and also slow down before the engine stops at the end of a mission.
- Certified Hardware. The hardware is certified to MIL-STD-810F and MIL-STD 461F.
- Automatic Actions on Waypoints. The user can configure automatic actions on waypoints while planning the mission or during the operation itself. It is possible to determine the flight behavior of the UAV (overfly, loiter, hover, jumps between waypoints and flight plans…) as well as to schedule events such as switch activations for cargo release.
- Altitude Protection. By taking advantage of readings from a radar or laser altimeter unit, the autopilot is able to maintain accurate height above ground, which can be critical for low altitude operations of hover maneuvers where a precise height must be maintained.
- Use of integrated ADS. The use of an in-built Air Data System (ADS) allows the autopilot to fly according to airspeed and barometric altitude instead of using the GNSS signal. So, the VECTOR-600 autopilot is the best choice when the optimum performance of rotary-wing applications is essential.
- Servo Feedback Monitoring. The system is able to monitor the difference between the commanded position and servo feedback for both PWM and serial servos. This maintains the simplicity of the system installation but ensures higher safety.
- Integrated Transponder-In & Out. The system can operate within the controlled air traffic relying on the advanced transponder integration. The GCS displays the indications about the surrounding air traffic while the UAV can be identified by the rest of the traffic because of the implemented ADS-B OUT mode.
- Flight Plan Generator. The operator can easily configure a fight plan to let the UAV cover a designated area in the most efficient way. This functionality is strategic for Search & Rescue as well as crop-spraying missions, amongst other tasks.