AirOne is a student group focused on developing a Vertical Take-Off and Landing(VTOL) Unmanned Aerial System(UAS). The team aims to design an autonomous aircraft to deliver a 10 lb package to various distances within a 20-minute travel time. The aircraft will feature two modes of flight: powered-lift, and forward flight. Shifting from one mode to the other will occur by means of a tilting wing mechanism. Transitioning into forward flight will allow the aircraft to achieve higher airspeed and travel farther with lower energy consumption.
This project has given me the chance to gain hands on experience dealing with the electronic propulsion components as well as to carry out multiple testing procedures to ensure manufactured quality. My responsibilities in the AirOne project as a propulsion team lead included designing and selecting a propulsion system capable of powering a fully autonomous package delivery drone. The overall system was able to generate up to 38lbs of thrust and maintain the flight duration of 35 mins.
Part of my testing tasks was to perform a thrust, thermal and flight tests on the propulsion system chosen. The tests were conducted in a safe enclosure that I designed in SolidWorks to replicate a vertical thrust motion using a force sensor directly connected to Arduino. All the data collected was analyzed and graphed using Excel as well as MatLab and compared to the project requirements. Moreover, Matlab and worlfram were used to create a robust optimization tool that allowed us to identify the best configurations for the flight envelope and create an analysis for the optimized route taken from take-off till landing at destination and same for the way back to base.