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University of Warwick fourth year students have developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to aid in mountainside rescue as part of the UK government sponsored program Horizon (AM), which aims to encourage the advancement of 3D printing in aeronautics.
The UAV’s main function is to deliver vital supplies on mountain rescue missions. As such, the goal for the drone is a payload of about 5 kilograms and an 80 kilometer range – much further than UK regulations allow.
Legislation - Drone - Operators - Vehicle - Line
Current legislation requires drone operators to keep their vehicle in line of sight, severely limiting the use of the devices in rescue operations. However, The National Air Traffic Control Service recently announced that it will allow drones to be flown beyond the line of sight. The new regulations will enable many new UAV applications by creating an airspace for drones to operate in, something eagerly awaited by companies, such as Amazon, wishing to tap the commercial potential of the vehicles.
The UAV’s fuselage was cast from a 3D printed mold. Image via University of Warwick.
Award - Autodesk - Fusion - Software - Molds
Award winning Autodesk Fusion 360 software was used to design molds for the UAV’s fuselage, which were then printed on a large format 3D printer. Ed Barlow, who has now graduated, was the project’s design lead. 3D printing provided a clear advantage, “We needed our own custom airframe, made specifically for long-distance flight with a heavy payload,” comments Barlow.
“We went with a blended-wing body, or ‘flying wing,’ where the fuselage is built into the wing such that the fuselage, as well as the wings, generate lift.”
UAV - Autodesk - Fusion - Image - University
The UAV was designed in Autodesk Fusion 360. Image via University of Warwick.
The first prototype was made of foam and only survived flight for 21.2 seconds. It was too heavy and for...
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