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11 June 2019


The fully autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle is undergoing flight tests

The drone for SkyWay was presented at EcoFest 2018. Such heavy drones with heavy payloads, capable of operating day and night, will be an excellent tool for building roads and transport infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas. Allowing to reduce the cost of delivery and installation of structures, such a technology can significantly reduce the cost of building SkyWay string tracks under these conditions. Thus, the number of advantages of SkyWay technology will increase compared with other options for solving infrastructure problems.

Thinking for the future, SkyWay Group of Companies is engaged in this innovative development. It is also significant that the prototype of the drone, created and demonstrated with the participation of SkyWay, is, first of all, the latest intelligent control systems. Their development and improvement is also a priority for the creators of string transport. Its "under-the-hood" is a set of programs that not only control the movement of the module, but also independently make decisions with specific algorithms depending on a particular situation.

Object recognition using technical vision (based on data from optical and radar sensors), automatic route planning, positioning control, a flexible interactive system to communicate with the user are just some of the possibilities of this powerful artificial intelligence. Much attention is paid to safety. Multiple redundancy of the system as a whole is applied. More than 15 auto pilots operate simultaneously on board. They take decisions on the logics of flight.

The high level of the control system allows the drone to calculate about 1,000 times per second more than 1,000 options of flight trajectories and choose the optimal one, taking into account the environment, obstacles and possible mechanical faults. In fact, the drone is a highly intelligent flying robot that has not only the brain, but also specially designed high-speed actuators that replace pilot's hands and legs, which leads to the execution of all drone control commands ten times faster than man.

In the prototype demonstrated by the developers, KA-26 helicopter that proved its reliability was taken as the basis for the unmanned aerial vehicle, however this could be any model of a commercially produced helicopter. The main thing in an unmanned vehicle is just the artificial intelligence and additionally installed actuators. The existing shell with the entire mechanical filling plays a secondary role. At the same time the helicopter preserved the ability to be controlled by a pilot, if necessary.

The fully autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle is undergoing flight tests

Thanks to artificial intelligence, the vehicle will be able to transport up to 1.5 tons of cargo at an altitude of several kilometers over 500-km distance at 170 km/h speed in unmanned mode. Competitive freight models like quadcopters and helicopters do not have such capabilities.

Reference: to deliver major loads, the US military use unmanned helicopters UH-1, equipped with AACUS (Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System) with 230-kg carrying capacity. Disposable cargo vehicles TACAD, developed in the United States, can carry up to 800 kg, and at the same time are much more primitive, representing, in fact, flying wooden boxes. The agricultural quadcopter SKYF Agro from Kazan developers lifts the load "only" up to 250 kg. Impressive in themselves, these figures look quite modest against the background of the capabilities of the helicopter. However, almost none of the developers of helicopters still could not get the vehicle to fly in unmanned mode. This was done by Belarusian engineers.

The potential scope of using UAVs with high payload, maneuverability, altitude and range are cargo transportation, construction, agriculture, environmental protection, weather management, entertainment industry and much more. The drone will be irreplaceable in emergency situations — fires in hard-to-reach places (for example, on the roof of a skyscraper), rescue of drowning people and those who for some reason are cut off from the outside world.

The fully autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle is undergoing flight tests

Thus, this development has a great commercial potential. Many countries around the world have already shown interest in the drone. Reducing the cost of large UAVs for the end user, which is made possible by the development of artificial intelligence, can mark a real revolution in aviation. Further development is able to progress both as part of SkyWay, and independently, including without SkyWay participation, on favorable terms for both projects. A roadmap for this development is currently being coordinated.

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