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Autonomous Systems (UAVs)

Project CONDOR

'Project CONDOR' is our codename for a large format (250kg+ MTOW) quadcopter cargo drone concept being developed to address a range of materiel transport applications, where autonomous, distributed electric drive VTOL drones would offer distinct advantages over fossil fuel powered, manned, ground or aerial vehicles.


Applications
  • Defence CSS (Combat Services Support)
    We're investigating a future where on-demand autonomous systems that don't require skilled operators or crew can increasingly take on the task of transporting mundane items such as food rations and jerrycans of water into the field as required, leaving high asset value, crewed vehicles such as helicopters free to attend to more appropriate missions.
  • Search & Rescue (SAR)
    We see a future in which life-saving materiel (eg flotation devices or protective clothing) can be delivered faster, in a wider range of siutations and terrains, with higher frequency, at a lower cost per kilogram, than is possible with ground vehicles or helicopters.
  • Emergency Response
    Autonomous systems are ideal for responding to emergencies that require the rapid deployment of materiel, but where trying to save one life can place more in harms way.

  • Challenges
  • All Electric, VTOL Design
    With all lift and directional/attitudinal control provided by the electric drives, and with no secondary lifting surfaces to effectively reduce power requirements during forward flight, CONDOR will require higher energy density storage solutions than would be required for a quadplane or fixed wing drone concept with equivalent cargo carrying capacity. So we're partnering with leading Australian battery researchers to identify solutions.
  • Ducted Coaxial Electric Fan propulsion
    Using ducted fan designs delivers performance, space and safety benefits, compared to using open propeller designs. We're partnering with a leading research group to undertake virtual wind tunnel analysis on a new design that utilises next-gen motors and multi-bladed fans.
  • 'Level 5' (full) autonomy
    Requires a mix of 'smart' autonomous analysis and decision making systems, plus high availability, high reliability automatic systems, plus mixed modal sensor suites, plus lots of redundancy.

  • Features
  • Airframe:
    Octacopter configured as a quadcopter with 4x ducted coaxial fan assemblages.
  • Flight Mode:
    Full VTOL (ie no lifting surfaces) able to carry stowed or slung loads.
  • Cargo:
    Manual load/unload (for stowed) or manual load/automated drop (for slung) payloads.
  • Power:
    Hybrid PEM FC (hydrogen fuel cell) + 400-500Wh/kg deep discharge (100%) rechareable battery stacks.
  • Propulsion:
    Distributed electric drives developing estimated (peak) 350kg thrust via compact multi-bladed fans.
  • Payload:
    120kg (near term); 200kg+ longer term.
  • Flight Duration:
    2 hours/100kms (target).
  • Air Speed:
    60kph/32knots (cruise); 80kph/43knots (sprint)./li>
  • Autonomy:
    On-board systems able to deliver 'Level 4+' near term; with 'Level 5' within 2 years.


  • DISCLAIMER:

    The images and text describe concepts under development and do not necessarily represent a final solution delivered to market.

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