Aerdron and Drotek collaborate to increase payload on a new heavy lifting drone platform aimed for R&D and courier missions.April 16, 2019 1:30 pm
The drone payload
In the world of aviation, the maximum weight that a flying vehicle can carry is expressed as “payload”. This payload includes all the equipment onboard to carry out missions: sensors, cameras, radars, lasers, parcels and armament for the military drones. The elements concerning avionics (GNSS, accelerometer, gyrometer, altimeter) are excluded from this calculation, as the hardware components of each drone (chassis, rotors, propellers, batteries and ESC controllers).Drones used in a professional, industrial or in the military are particularly interested in maximizing the payload capacities of their vehicles while maintaining a comparable MTOW (Mass Take Off Weight) to increase efficiencies. Whether to install a camera on their platform, to film, inspect and monitor, or to ship sensors and other elements useful for industrial missions, these drones are able to carry impressive loads, while maintaining sufficient autonomy to perform their missions, thanks to the capacity of the lithium polymer battery, as well as the power of their propulsion and the number of these engines, or rotors.
AERDRON and DROTEK project
AERDRON specializes in materializing innovative bespoke design concepts from the conceptual phase to a working product. The team is comprised of experienced engineers that have participated in many high profile aerospace projects in the USA, EU, and globally. AERDRON is recognized and certified as an innovative technology development company by the Spanish government. They currently working on several drone technology development programs funded through the EU Commission and the Spanish government.The aim of this collaboration was to create an autonomous device with a significantly increased payload capacity that is able to facilitate multirole payload missions. Drotek team took care of the hardware and flight dynamics tuning. Drotek flight controller is the heart of the drone system; AERDRON chose to install PIXHAWK 3 PRO autopilot for flexible and powerful autonomous flight modes.
The next step was to configure the machine so that it can fly with such weights which implied various steps:
• Heavy masses tend to modify vehicle’s inertia and need specific control loop tuning in order to achieve stabilization without oscillations nor overshoots
• Vibration analysis: large rotors tend to create vibration with smaller frequencies but higher amplitudes which implies a challenge for the estimator.
• High torque motors imply strong magnetic fields that can disturb compasses -> special care needs to be taken to make sure compasses do not measure magnetic fields from motors.
The HL4 Herculift drone
The chassis of the drone is carbon ultra-rigid aero quality and the propellers are 33 inches.
Full autonomous takeoff and automatic landing with laser altimeter.
Pixhawk 3 Pro has latest generation sensors. It features internal IMU dampening and robust and fully redundant power architecture. This reduces the amount of vibration received by the autopilot.
Discover more about HL4 Herculift on Aerdron website here.
If you are a professional and interested in drone customization for your operations, you can contact us at [email protected].