• ESAD flight tests at the Southampton Air Show
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An unmanned aerial vehicle designed to transport and deploy ecoSUB, a microsubmarine purpose built for environmental monitoring
Group Members
Matthew Hastings, Matthew House, Daniel Harding, Daniel Knott, Richard Hall, Robert Evans, Tristan Weal
Dr András Sóbester
Northrop Grumman, Carbon Fibre Tubes Ltd, 3DPRINTUK, 3DXR
Climate change research, oil spill monitoring, and the observation of rare natural phenomena are among the many uses of ecoSUB (a small underwater autonomous vehicle). Current practice requires the crew of the research vessel to deploy, transport, and recover ecoSUB from a dingy a process that exposes the crew to potential dangers and slows the progress of the overall mission.

The objective of project eSAD is to create a prototype UAV that provides a safer, quicker method of deployment by taking off directly from the deck. The prototype UAV will increase ecoSUB’s useful life by delivering it directly to the target, and will allow it to reach a broader range of targets, including inland lakes, estuaries, and Arctic or Antarctic polynyas.

The UAV’s high power to weight ratio and highly effective high lift devices allow it to take off from a 15m helipad and reach a target up to 1km away within 120 seconds. Its short wing span, modular design, and intelligently located electric connectors allow quick and easy assembly, storage, and transportation. The integrated release system is simple and functional, allowing the UAV to deliver a variety of payloads aside from ecoSUB.

By combining these characteristics, the UAV improves the performance of ecoSUB and makes deployment easier and safer.


Computational model of ESAD


Computational model of the ecoSUB with UMKC’s autonomous guidance unit attached