Developing Emerging Technologies Driven by UAVs

February 24, 2017
Developing Emerging Technologies Driven by UAVs

Revolutionary new technology for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) dominated the agenda at the February 2017 Civic Drone Centre conference, aptly named, Emerging Technologies Driven by UAVs.

Located at the University of Central Lancashire, the conference and drone industry networking event showcased a selection of exciting UAV projects funded by the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP).

As a recipient of NATEP funding, AIE (UK) Ltd was keen to present the outcome of their NATEP project that will provide a high-powered propulsion system for a new generation of commercial UAVs.

AIE’s Head of Business Development, Alex Vaughn, delivered a presentation to demonstrate the benefits of the novel SPARCS Rotary Engine project for UAVs. Key points of that presentation included: –

  • A brief background of AIE’s expertise in developing some of the world’s leading rotary propulsion systems, that have accrued over 1 million operational service flight hours.
  • Details of collaborative partners Vortex Exhaust Technology; developers of high-performance patented exhaust systems who provided useful R&D advice.
  • The purpose of the project in addressing the limited capabilities of current small UAVs. Due to excessive size, vibration and overheating of propulsion systems, smaller UAVs are experiencing low endurance and compromised overall system life. AIE’S NATEP funded project devised a solution that would meet end-user needs for greater capabilities as well as reduce cost of ownership.
  • Identification of the technology used; including the AIE patented SPARCS (Self-Pressurising Air Rotor Cooling System) to reduce wear with thermal balancing; advanced manufacturing for the small-form, 2kg system; R&D for the exhaust unit to create a high gas flow for reduced heat, sound attenuation techniques to inhibit noise and a lightweight structure from 3D printed titanium.
  • Together the technologies provided a greater payload for longer endurance in a smaller, quieter package; an ideal propulsion unit for small UAVs.
  • Details of how AIE overcame a number of R&D challenges to produce a production ready 40cc game-changer engine that delivers higher performance and longer endurance for UAVs.
  • The overall benefits for the UK aerospace industry that can be strengthened as a supply base for reliable UAV engines; helping to position the UK as a source of innovative and competitive exports for overseas markets and generating additional UK-based jobs.

UAV manufacturers and end-users can then take advantage of the multi-fuel 40S SPARCS Rotary Engine that is capable of a greater rate of climb, payload capacity and longer endurance with a more affordable total cost of ownership.

The conference, which showcased exciting NATEP funded projects, provided ample evidence of the forward-thinking engineering firms and manufacturers seeking to provide valuable solutions for UAV limitations.

This, of course, included AIE’s presentation and exhibition of the NATEP funded SPARCS Rotary Engine project, which after being shown to fit in the palm of a hand was met with keen interest by those in attendance and networking before the close of the event.

Details of the 40S SPARCS Rotary Engine for UAVs can be found on AIE’s 40S product page Further information on how this engine can be integrated into UAV applications can be accessed by simply calling +441543 420 700 or completing a brief form here.


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