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About Us / Integration

Integrating the autopilot into the aircraft is the most complex and delicate step when building an autonomous UAV helicopter. Due to the intricacy of the full system, plug and play autopilots do not exist. To get the autopilot online, instructions based the aircraft’s structure and cargo need to be inputted. These instructions lay out the parameters of the helicopter’s physical flight dynamics. Moreover, to complete its mission, external and internal sensors (which procure the data) need to be enabled.

The Helicampro includes anti-vibration mounts beneath the autopilot. These mounts are manufactured according to Helicampro’s technical specifications, which are determined by instrumentally recognized vibration frequencies affecting the helicopter. Without measures that eliminate on-board vibration, sensitive sensors, such as the gyroscopes and accelerometers, are compromised.

Furthermore, all wiring within the Helicampro is electromagnetically shielded. Each external sensor is positioned to meet its operational requirements. The performance of each of these sensors is subject to checks to ensure reliability and consistency over time and under varying operating conditions. In addition, data collected by the sensors (as well as subjected to Kalman filters), must undergo several stages of processing in order to be translated into piloting instructions. For example, feedback is used to compare results obtained following a command with the desired outcome. This comparison allows the autopilot to determine and implement corrections.

Proportional-integral-derivative (PID) loops sequences are used to manage this comparison, which are mathematical formulas based on triple PDI calculations compared to target parameters. These three factors (proportional, integral, and derivative) allow fine tuning of the behavior of each loop, and determine the information that is sent to the next loop. This forms a chain between the detection sensors of the condition of the aircraft to the actuators that govern its flight. It is therefore of vital importance for any helicopter with particular structure, weight distribution and flight objectives to calibrate the three parameters of each loop in the chain, taking into account that there is a chain for each of the four degrees of freedom a helicopter has.

Once the ability of the autopilot to maintain control of the aircraft is established, the autopilot must be trained to perform flight maneuvers. These tactics depend on the loads and operations the Helicampro will undertake, such as takeoff, landing, navigation at variable heights and speed, and turns. Necessary emergency procedures also need to be put in place. The autopilot must carry out these procedures in the event of any predictable cases of malfunctions during its operation.

Power supply is sized to ensure operation for a full day, eliminating the need to interrupt work to recharge or replace batteries. For increased reliability, each device on board has a dedicated independent power supply. Each power supply has a redundant connection of two sub-connections (with as many battery packs) using an electronic control circuit. In normal operating conditions, the circuit keeps the load balanced between the two lines. If one of the circuits stops working, for example due to battery failure, the circuit is excluded. This maintains smooth operation by switching its power supply to the other battery. Batteries installed on the Helicampro are based on lithium-polymer technology because of its unbeatable charge capacity/ weight, power output capacity, and the absence of any memory effect. Like all electronics, they are mounted on vibration dampers to isolate them from vibrations and shocks from the helicopter's structure.
13th – 17th June, 2016 – Eurosatory, Paris
March 2016 - ITEA3 label boosts certification project
January 2016 - Prestigious memberships
May 2015 - The whole fleet is now approved