A pair of PhD students from Unmanned System Research Group from University of Singapore were busy in development of novel hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) known as U-Lion. U-Lion can actually take off as well as land in vertical direction such as helicopter and can also transition to cruise flight in form of an airplane. It can expand and retract its wings, and favors stability in VTOL mode or offer an efficient lift to cruise flight. U-Lion can easily transform and fly automatically. The research was recently published in a famous journal.
Recently, hybrid UAVs have lured in interested from all over the world for their most potent application in civilian and military operations, especially when the environment it is operating in has severe restraints such as during forest mapping or sea surveillance. The VTOL capability of this hybrid reduces its dependency on landing and takeoff facilities while the cruise flying abilities of this plane permits it to execute long duration and long range tasks. They are a number of companies that have developed resources in development of hybrid UAVs like the Project Wing from Google.
But, it is a challenge to diffuse functionalities of fixed-wing and VTOL UAVs. Along with, due to highest amount of uncertain aerodynamic forces acting during transition process, it was not easy to automate the transition process. As a result, previous trials at the hybrid UAVs mainly emphasized on optimization of flying modes. A PhD student, Wang Kangli, adds, “U-Lion, the autonomous hybrid UAV, has great potentials in many applications. The VTOL capability has widened its application environment and cruise capability enables it to perform long range tasks. The autonomous capability relieves the dependency of experience pilots and further expands its applications.”
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