UAVOS Lead developer Aliaksei Stratsilatau.
To integrate the autopilot into various mobile platforms, both airborne and surface (above ground/water) based, ranging from 2.2 lb to 2626 lb (1 kg to 1200 kg), UAVOS engineers implemented the concept of a multi-platform modular design of the automatic control system for moving objects.
The main feature of the AP10 automatic control system is a distributed architecture, when each component of the system has its own microcontroller providing data processing and communication with other components within the CAN network (Controller Area Network). The AP10 configuration allows to avoid loading the central processor with routine tasks by distributing management tasks to all system components. At the same time there are efficiently no restrictions on the number of the same-type modules, which makes it possible to implement multiple redundancy on all levels. Almost any payload, or ready-made third-party modules and entire systems can be connected to the system by adding IFC interfaces to the network.
The main boards of the AP10 system are universal and can be used both for the smallest UAVs and for heavy ones – with a takeoff mass of 2,626 lb (1200 kg) and more. Increasing the size and complexity of the UAV systems changes the number of modules, their casing, the topology of the onboard electrical circuit; the redundancy of systems appears, and additional modules are being added. Such approach reduces the workload on the development support teams, simplifies project engineering and development of the overall system. Naturally, the cost of the AP10 for small UAVs grows significantly due to such approach, which does’n allow competing with hobby autopilots, but it provides high reliability for professional equipment.
Flexible architecture of the AP10 allows to quickly connect various modules and systems that extend the functions of the unmanned platform, synchronize work with other robotic complexes. For example, it is possible for one operator to simultaneously control from one place several different unmanned objects - whether on the ground, or in the air. The AP10 system successfully handles (in fully automatic mode, including takeoff and landing) helicopters, airplanes, multi-rotor systems, airships, boats, ground moving objects, high-altitude solar-powered devices.
The function of automatic system diagnostics is implemented. Special algorithms of system actions in emergency situations provide maximum chances to save the unmanned vehicle itself, as well as to ensure the safety of objects on the ground and in the air.
AP10 software makes it possible to synchronize the work of payload and of the onboard telemetry, and the flight task for most aerial mapping and monitoring tasks.
AP10 equipment is enclosed in IP67 hermetically sealed aluminum cases with aviation connectors. The extended temperature range from -40 to +122F (from -40 to +50C) allows the equipment to be operated anywhere in the world. Protection from electromagnetic interference and electronic warfare, the ability to navigate with GNSS turned off most definitely put it a professional equipment niche.
The ground control station (GCU) software includes an air simulator for 3D UAV model settings, staff training, and visualization of recorded real flight data.
UAVOS supports scientific projects in the field of unmanned technologies and provides equipment and support for approved projects.
Among other things, UAVOS took part in the scientific and technical project to create a multifunctional robotic complex. The AP10 automatic control system for mobile objects was integrated into the group of robotic platforms when helicopter-type UAVs and ground crawler robots were combined in a stable information and communication network.
The AP10 became one of the key modules of the unmanned mobile objects’ complex. The autopilot units are connected to the devices and transmit to the central computer the actual parameters of the surrounding operational situation of all participants of the operation: location, rate and direction of movement. AP10 allows to synchronize the work of all robotic platforms, to observe in real time the tactical environment, to interact with points of control in a single system of automated mission control.
The modular architecture of the UAVOS autopilot allows to easily change and expand the configuration of the complex during the mission: to introduce additional unmanned platforms for various purposes, to add functionality, and to integrate the necessary type of payload. All new objects become part of the network structure and automatically connect to the central computer, while any changes to the complex are reflected on the operational situation map.