A Unique Stand for the Study of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles was Developed at Sevastopol State University

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Scientists at Sevastopol State University have developed a unique stand, the only one in Russia, that makes it possible to carry out comprehensive studies of the dynamics of a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicles.

The stand consists of supports, which form an experimental platform 5 meters in height and measuring 8 by 8 meters. An unmanned aerial vehicle weighing from 2 to 200 kilograms is suspended and fixed on the supports on guy lines. The stand is equipped with eight highly sensitive strain gauges that allow the forces acting on the aircraft to be measured with high accuracy.

“When we have eight forces, we can understand very accurately how each propeller works, what is their efficiency, work out elements related to dynamics and watch how quickly the propellers respond to external disturbances, such as a sharp crosswind flow,” said the Director of the Institute of the National Technology Initiative, Sergei Dudnikov.

With the help of the stand, it is possible to study how the ground affects the apparatus, and the situations of landing on an inclined surface are also practiced on the stand.

“When the drone lands, additional forces are generated from the ground. The flow directed to the ground is reflected from it and in a certain way affects the aircraft with a vortex. The stand allows you to experimentally see the influence of this force", the scientist explained.

Also, at the stand, you can conduct research on the effect of the wind load on the unmanned vehicle with the aid of a fan that is 4 kW in power and produces a wind speed of up to 18 meters per second. In the future, the wind turbine will be modernized which will see its capacity increased nine fold.

“We can create winds of different strengths, directions and patterns and record how the drone copes with the impact of crosswinds.”

The data from the sensors are processed by the program and the acting forces are displayed in the form of oscillograms. Next, a log is recorded, where the time and impact are recorded and controlled. Then the log is transferred to the program, where the data is processed using a mathematical model. As a result, scientists are not recording individual forces, but the direct behavior of the drone as a complex device. Unique software allows you to manually set various settings for drones: propeller pitch, rpm and record data from accelerometers and gyroscopes.

Now scientists are testing a drone weighing 2 kilograms at the stand, but in the future they plan to work with a prototype of an unmanned aerotaxi and a multicopter rotor with a gas turbine engine.

"We will not only investigate their characteristics in statics, but also in dynamics, which will allow us to more correctly evaluate the drones and compare them with existing counterparts." Scientists will begin testing such larger aircraft early next year.