June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.299.1 - 14.299.15
Saint Louis University
The primary goal of capstone projects is to familiarize students with the design process. Through student interaction and peer reviews students are able to gain valuable knowledge that cannot be taught in the traditional lecture. This particular capstone project focuses on the design of an autonomous UAV that is capable of loitering above a field for 10 hours while collecting pollen samples for post-flight analysis. The report highlights the educational value of decision making within the context of a group as well as the hands on experience that comes from designing an aircraft. The requirements pertaining to this project consist of a maximum gross weight of 40 lb, maximum stall speed of no greater than 35 knots, the capability to recover from 12.5 foot per second gust, and a maximum take off and landing distance of 300 feet. The aircraft must also be easily assembled and fit in a 5 x 3 x 3 foot box for easy hauling. Based on the aircraft specifications trade studies were performed in order to identify a fully functional design that is optimized. A blended-wing configuration has been chosen for the aircraft. Laminar flow technologies are used to minimize viscous drag of the aircraft. The engine chosen is the Zenoah G26, capable of providing 2.4 HP, which is sufficient power to takeoff and fly at maximum gross weight. In order to obtain fully autonomous flight the Twog V1 autopilot from the Paparazzi Project is used. This system uses a graphic user interface on the ground in conjunction with an onboard, programmed system, to manage the control systems of the aircraft, providing autonomous flight.
Worldwide there is an increasing interest in the capabilities of unmanned flight. According to an independent study from a defense and aerospace market analysis firm based in Fairfax, VA, the field of UAVs is and will be the most increasing division of the world aerospace industry. It is suggested in this study that UAV spending will triple over the next decade, all the while the United States is predicted to account for 73% of the worldwide spending on UAV technology.1 With the increasing need for improvement in the areas of functionality and implementation of UAVs, it is important to research and develop innovative ideas that will overcome the future challenges in unmanned flight.
The ability for students to build and understand this new and prominent area of the aerospace industry is essential. The aim of this group is to create, test, and successfully fly an autonomous UAV for a specified mission. The future roles for UAVs in data collecting are limitless. The UAV’s specific mission is to collect air samples in order to track pollen rising from a field during the course of a day. Post flight analysis of the samples will be conducted. Due to this specific mission the UAV has been affectionately named the Bumblebee.
Designing an affordable, yet durable UAV is a main priority for this project. The overall cost of the vehicle will be minimized by optimizing certain design parameters such as size. To increase the marketability of the Bumblebee, the design will have a compartment that can carry a fifteen-pound payload. This compartment can be used for a number of different purposes, one of which is holding a pollen measurement device to collect data for later analysis. Another design requirement is that the vehicle must be assembled and disassembled quickly and easily as to not delay the specified mission. Prioritizing design parameters is an important task, but optimizing
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