Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are increasingly in the spotlight due to many potential applications being explored, from niche logistics to situational awareness.
A key requirement in many applications to see widespread use is the need for service availability in a wide range of climatic conditions, including cold and icing conditions. In these situations, an unprepared drone may have its endurance significantly limited, or may not be able to fly at all.
It is therefore important to develop drone platforms capable of flying through these challenging atmospheric conditions, so that drone enabled services are not constrained to certain regions or seasons.
VTT is pleased to support the Drone Olympics initiative by presenting the VTT In-cloud Icing Performance Test, a challenge that aims to tackle some basic operational aspects of drones in winter:
– to test the performance of the drone battery in cold temperature, having the drone hoovering in the controlled ambient conditions of a climatic chamber , and
– to expose the drone rotor to cold and humid incident flow in the Icing Wind Tunnel, in an environment similar to that observed in the clouds during icing events.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad equipment”
With the Finnish proverb in mind, the participant teams will have an excellent chance to test their drones against the benchmark provided by VTT Icing Wind Tunnel. They will explore the limits of their operational envelope in a safe controlled environment, and learn how to improve drones to fly in harsh climatic conditions.
VTT has been developing augmented and virtual reality user interfaces and control methods for operating drone swarms in demanding operational environments, such as border guarding. VTT has also developed and studied concept of operations for swarms of robotic vehicles operating in safety-critical domains.