• TOTO during a flight test at the Paul Heckles Flight Centre
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Aircraft capable of autonomous flight and landing, influencing structural design of AIAA DBF entry
Group Members
Daniel Rhys Barker, Hirad Goudarzi, Harvey Graver, Low Eng Hong, Zachary Christopher Rowland, Ong Sheng Kai, Joel Jobelson, Soh Andu
Dr András Sóbester, Dr David Toal
Thales Group, Arizona State University, RS Components
The aim of this project has been to develop two separate aircraft: one, designed for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) ‘Design Build Fly’ (DBF) competition; and the other, ‘TOTO’, to demonstrate an autonomy mission for fixed wing aircraft. These aims represent two major areas of development in modern aviation: International cooperation on commercial aircraft, and a desire to follow the success of driverless automobiles with autonomous aircraft.

Our DBF aircraft, developed in a trans-Atlantic collaboration with the Arizona State University (ASU) Air Devils, demonstrates a high structural efficiency, a large payload capacity and the ability to survive extreme weather conditions found at the competition in Wichita, Kansas. ‘TOTO’, an autonomous fixed-wing UAV; has been developed for our lead sponsor Thales to demonstrate fixedwing autonomy, by flying a remote 360° camera tracking and transport mission over a specified mission plan.

Both aircraft have utilised novel development methods: At the conceptual design stage, a versatile Aircraft Generation Code was developed that links Matlab to Solidworks to allow for trade studies and a highly parametric CAD model. During manufacture, in-house techniques for foam cutting and vacuum forming were developed to allow the team to minimise lead times for manufacture. This allowed more time for flight-testing the aircraft, improving on construction and enhancing the final design. The project has ultimately delivered two aircraft for two unique purposes and helped to demonstrate the benefits of international collaboration for GDPs.
TOTO during a flight test at the Paul Heckles Flight Centre
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