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The design of an asymmetric unmanned aerial vehicle to allow unobscured vision from a camera
Group Members
Aaron Byrne, Petru-Cristian Cimpoesu, Gabriele Dessena, Christopher Hill, Caelan House
Supervisors
Professor Andrew Keane
Supporters
The Boeing Company
This project overcomes the challenges associated with the design and build of an asymmetric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), while taking advantage of the potential improvements to visibility from the UAV which asymmetry provides. Asymmetry was purposefully introduced into our UAV design despite it usually being an undesirable property. The driving factor for this decision was the mission of observation. Observation from a conventional symmetric aircraft can be obstructed by various subsystems, such as landing gear or propellers. Moving the observation point away from these systems avoids these issues and gives better visibility. A wind tunnel test provided deadlines for the primary phase of the project. Design requirements pushed the project forwards through conceptual design to a physical wind tunnel model. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and structural calculations were used to initially size the model. Results from wind tunnel tests provided useful information such as the effect of camera position yaw imbalance. Based on these results and the innovative use of 3D printing, the aerodynamic performance of the camera pod and fuselage seen during testing was modified and improved. Additionally, the functionality of the fuselage was expanded to provide a mount for the fan and landing surface for the UAV. It was in this phase of the project that most of the analysis was performed on the design, including further Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to correlate with wind tunnel measurements, and Finite Element Analysis to test structural suitability. Once correlated, the CFD model was used to predict aerodynamic performance of the new design and ensure that the yaw imbalance resulting from asymmetry was fully addressed prior to the flight test.
Prototype flight testing.
Exploded view of aircraft.