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UAV Design Contest $$$

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Hello All,

I'm developing a new UAV company and I'm offering a $5000 reward for the best design of a UAV. There are several design criteria that I will include here and I'll pick (and pay) the user that best meets my needs. I'm not asking for you to purchase any equipment or make any type of investment. I'm simply in need of a starting point for products I intend to offer for sale through my company. If your design best meets my requirements, I'll mail you a check for $5000 dollars and possibly use you as a consultant on future designs. This is no joke and I'm very serious about my intentions. If you think you have what it takes to come up with a good design, please participate. What I need is a list of the electronic components (flight model is already in-house) to make the UAV flight worthy. I also need the program(s) you came up with to get the UAV to operate. I’m asking you to make a list of all the electronic components and provide me with the programs you made so they can be installed in the electronics. This way I can take your electronic design and install your program(s), install the entire assembly in my UAV, and fly it. You provide a list of the components and the software, I pay you for it...it’s that simple.

The following are the requirements for the electronics:

Very simply...

1. Take-off autonomously

2. Land autonomously (ultrasonic altimeter below 15 feet AGL, other method above 15 ft)

3. Capable of 50 waypoints (w/altitude) guided by GPS

4. Flight model is capable of 30-hour endurance so electronics must last 33 hours

5. Must include telemetry (altitude, airspeed, GPS coordinates, flight direction, and calculated fuel load).

The requirements are very basic and there may be additional information you may need get started, so let me know. I'm looking to program my UAV to TO, fly to several waypoints, report back where it is and how it is performing, then land back at its starting point and come to a stop. The entire flight will last 25 hours with a maximum range of 25 miles LOS.

Contest ends 5-01-2007

Let me know what additional information you need.

Joe

Edited by UAVCORP

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4. Flight model is capable of 30-hour endurance so electronics must last 33 hours

Hah. What's the size of the plane and the battery type and manufacturer? I'd really be interested for a project in a totally different field.

I indeed hope you typoed the date with 2008, as I highly doubt you'll get an answer for tomorrow.

If I could give you a solution in that delay, that would mean I had spent some years of development and might rather sell the gear to you for $30k or more ;)

Edited by Kilrah

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I too thought that the $5000 was cheap, considering the Aussie military UAV (probably the most pathetic uav on earth) cost over $14M aud to develop for similar performance.

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Contest ends 5-01-2007

Do your giving us 2 days to do this? Thats seems pretty darn short

In the USA, the popular calendar format is MM-DD-YY. So, I think you have five months (still not much time though). And $5K would indeed be a bargain for the recipe to a working design, but it doesn't hurt to ask. :)

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In the USA, the popular calendar format is MM-DD-YY. So, I think you have five months (still not much time though). And $5K would indeed be a bargain for the recipe to a working design, but it doesn't hurt to ask. :)

I'm assuming there is someone out there that has already developed most or all of their design which they can use for this contest. I'm sure 5 months is possible but I'm thinking there are existing designs already assembled and tested by some members here.

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Items 3 and 5 have been demonstrated in various personal UAV projects. However a fully integrated package that also includes requirements 1, 2, and 4, is going to be elusive. Especially with only a $5K reward.

Perhaps a University UAV team will see your post and contact you about sponsoring them. I suspect that sort of relationship could go on for years, so your time table might need to be altered. But if they are near completion, then send roses and cash to get their attention!

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Yep. But if I had that working or was near completion, I'd keep it for myself and make $$$ producing and selling the final product. I wouldn't satisfy myself with $5k and watch you earn the result. Obviously I'd feel the market to be there as much as you do. Wait, I might even be doing that in the near future.

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Its number 4 that kills it stone dead for me, that sort of duration is only found on the top pro UAVs.

Terry

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Yep. But if I had that working or was near completion, I'd keep it for myself and make $$$ producing and selling the final product. I wouldn't satisfy myself with $5k and watch you earn the result. Obviously I'd feel the market to be there as much as you do. Wait, I might even be doing that in the near future.

It would be nice if it were that simple. In fact it's very complex to take an idea (especially on this level) to market. If it were that simple there would be many inventors out there that would never need funding for their patents. There's a lot more to bringing your completed designs to market then you may think. The 5K is a way to make your design closer to reality. I never said I wanted the design exclusively. You can still keep your design idea and market it on your own.

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Its number 4 that kills it stone dead for me, that sort of duration is only found on the top pro UAVs.

Terry

Don't give up so easy. The flight model is capable of a 25lb. Payload, which is sufficient for a large battery. You worry about the charge time; I'll worry about the weight.

Edited by UAVCORP

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depending on the power requirements of your system, your looking at around 40AH's of battery. Using LiPo's thats about 5 962.97928 pounds of battery. Probably looking at another 2lb for all the electronics and fail safe's. Thats 8lb so far.. another 300+g of fuel/hr in a efficient engine (i know that other uav's are getting by on 114g of fuel/hr but they have millions of dollars spent on engine research alone). So for 30 hrs of fuel thats ~10 litres - this would weigh 22lb.

So now your looking at a 30lb payload for fuel, electronics and batteries. Your motor will probably weigh a fair bit plus its fuel injection systems and electronics.

With the hobby grade/semi-professional grade stuff we deal with on this forum i don't think your going to be able to do it.

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In spite of Mark Harris comment, some of us are professionly involved with UAVs, in my case more than forty years. Comment No.1, the usual way to go about it is to define the mission and the equipment needed, including safety and "fall back" sequences, and wrap a suitable airframe and power department around that.

The downfall of many programs has been the attempt to utilise an existing airframe design for a different mission.

As to definitions of the mission, some parts dont make sense. A long duration UAV with a range of only 25 miles is a bit silly (excuse me!) Why not two or three with shorter duration, alternating on the job? That way you dont need a flying fuel tank, bigger airframe, larger engine etc etc. Also not specified, operating altitude, whether terrain avoidance gear needed, what response to precipitation, what temperatures/humidity likely to be encountered, (ie cooking up temperature on the ground during preparation for flight, minimum temperatures at altitude etc) and, not least, the power requirements of the mission-enabling sensors and flight control gear,(servos etc) and Tx power required presuming "live" telemetry.

It may well be that clandestine operations are envisaged, in which case it might be preferable to fly autonomously except when "burst" short duration/spread frequency up and down links are required. Live transmission of video etc can (A) be detected and triangulated, and (B) enable something nasty to home on the UAV.

All of the above just for starters! Your comments awaited with interest!

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I was thinking only NASA was able to take-off and land planes autonomously. Anyway I don't see the advantage to land it by itself, why not use goggle for take-off and land and use automatic flight when the planes is in the air, it will cost lot less and a lot of peoples will be able to make it?

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In regards to automated landing, there is some interesting work by procerusuav.com. Here is a video of their Wing in a automated recovery mode: Video <Click Me!>

Have you contacted them about your wish list?

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depending on the power requirements of your system, your looking at around 40AH's of battery. Using LiPo's thats about 5 962.97928 pounds of battery. Probably looking at another 2lb for all the electronics and fail safe's. Thats 8lb so far.. another 300+g of fuel/hr in a efficient engine (i know that other uav's are getting by on 114g of fuel/hr but they have millions of dollars spent on engine research alone). So for 30 hrs of fuel thats ~10 litres - this would weigh 22lb.

So now your looking at a 30lb payload for fuel, electronics and batteries. Your motor will probably weigh a fair bit plus its fuel injection systems and electronics.

With the hobby grade/semi-professional grade stuff we deal with on this forum i don't think your going to be able to do it.

The flight model will be able to accomodate the battery weight with ease. The flight model is designed to be long-endurance and heavy lift. Battey weight is no real concern.

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There are many autonomous landing systems, all of them very expensive.

Not a lot of point usually, easier to stand near the runway/strip and take-off/land using a hand controller ie Tx hand held. One auto land system is OMAR, look up Mission Technologies Inc, UAV company in San Antonio Texas.

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I don't see the advantage to land it by itself, why not use goggle for take-off and land and use automatic flight when the planes is in the air

I agree for hobby use but you need a skilled pilot, if is fully autonomous you only need an operator. Flying is just a means to an end, the important bit is the objective. The operator need to consentrate on the mission not the flying.

Terry

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In spite of Mark Harris comment, some of us are professionly involved with UAVs, in my case more than forty years. Comment No.1, the usual way to go about it is to define the mission and the equipment needed, including safety and "fall back" sequences, and wrap a suitable airframe and power department around that.

The downfall of many programs has been the attempt to utilise an existing airframe design for a different mission.

As to definitions of the mission, some parts dont make sense. A long duration UAV with a range of only 25 miles is a bit silly (excuse me!) Why not two or three with shorter duration, alternating on the job? That way you dont need a flying fuel tank, bigger airframe, larger engine etc etc. Also not specified, operating altitude, whether terrain avoidance gear needed, what response to precipitation, what temperatures/humidity likely to be encountered, (ie cooking up temperature on the ground during preparation for flight, minimum temperatures at altitude etc) and, not least, the power requirements of the mission-enabling sensors and flight control gear,(servos etc) and Tx power required presuming "live" telemetry.

It may well be that clandestine operations are envisaged, in which case it might be preferable to fly autonomously except when "burst" short duration/spread frequency up and down links are required. Live transmission of video etc can (A) be detected and triangulated, and (B) enable something nasty to home on the UAV.

All of the above just for starters! Your comments awaited with interest!

The range of 20 miles is the LOS range. The duration of the flight is what I'm interested in. I'm using the electronics solely to test out the long flight characteristics of the flight model. Although the electronics are important, the actual need here is to verify the flight model can withstand long duration flights. The requirements I set out for the electronics is suffcient to test out the flight model.

Just a note...

I'd like to get responses from those that actually want to participate in this contest. Please ask me questions regarding information you need to create your submission. Let's keep this simple and keep your questions in scope of the request.

Thanks

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Right on Terry. Loops, rolls, and stall turns are great fun with target drones, (when the team leader aint in the picture!) but UAVs are quite expensive solutions to tactical problems, not toys! When up to ankles in mud wrestling with a dodgy launcher at three in the morning with an anxious Major wanting the bird in the air and on the job yesterday you appreciate that! ;)

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There are many autonomous landing systems, all of them very expensive.

Not a lot of point usually, easier to stand near the runway/strip and take-off/land using a hand controller ie Tx hand held. One auto land system is OMAR, look up Mission Technologies Inc, UAV company in San Antonio Texas.

Landing using an ultrasonic altimeter is very common in the do-it-yourself UAV projects. It's been out for quite some time now. It's used to allow better altimeter resolution for take-off and landing.

Here's a link to how they operate. Although this particular on is used for blimps, it can be configured to work for UAVs. This is one of many available on the market.

http://www.ias.uwe.ac.uk/People%20Pages/j-...trasonics_2.htm

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I agree for hobby use but you need a skilled pilot, if is fully autonomous you only need an operator. Flying is just a means to an end, the important bit is the objective. The operator need to consentrate on the mission not the flying.

Terry

And that may not be a requirement for others but I'm interested in this feature. The flight model needs to be tested on long flight durations as well as testing the landing gear components. The flight model will be programmed to take off, go to several waypoints, return to the field and perform a touch & go, and continue doing this until the fuel forces a landing (witch is why I need to measure fuel qty).

Most UAVs don't require autonomous TO/Landing but in my case it's a requirement.

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Landing using an ultrasonic altimeter is very common in the do-it-yourself UAV projects. It's been out for quite some time now. It's used to allow better altimeter resolution for take-off and landing.

I was under the impression that ultrasonic ranging was impractical with typical powered models (not blimps) due to the usual vibration issues. Useful range seems a bit limited too. Do you have any published articles that describe effective ultrasonic ranging that has been used on IC or electric airplanes of the size your application will use? I suspect something MUCH more sophisticated would be necessary for reliable operation with a big manly UAV.

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I was under the impression that ultrasonic ranging was impractical with typical powered models (not blimps) due to the usual vibration issues. Useful range seems a bit limited too. Do you have any published articles that describe effective ultrasonic ranging that has been used on IC or electric airplanes of the size your application will use? I suspect something MUCH more sophisticated would be necessary for reliable operation with a big manly UAV.

Read the section Command: Landing

http://cmil.west.cmu.edu/publications/EAV-...ot%20design.pdf

There are several types on the market which you'll have to research.

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I see, they use the sonar during the flare, and other sensors (GPS/Altimeter) up to that point.

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