14 kg helicopter with 1.5 kW combustion engine and stereo camera in urban area
The DLR Institute of Flight Systems in Braunschweig develops the flight test carrier ARTIS (Autonomous Rotorcraft Testbed for Intelligent Systems), based on small unmanned helicopters. The aim of the project is to provide advanced systems and algorithms for autonomous intelligent functions and to investigate and evaluate these in experiments. In addition to on-board computer and data link, ARTIS can be equipped with various sensors such as satellite positioning system (GPS), inertial platform (IMU) and magnetometer. Of central importance is the use of imaging sensors (e.g. cameras). Important research topics include, in addition to advanced flight control and flight management concepts, functions for the machine-decision-making, collision avoidance and for the cooperation of multiple aircraft (e.g. swarm). The use of real-time imaging systems allows also experiments with vision-based navigation and optical environment perception.
Based on the application, the helicopters are carrying a lot of equipment. The typical avionic components for the basic functionalities are:
For a lot of applications, further payload can be installed at the vehicles. The amount is dependent on the used helicopter system. Examples for additional components are:
All components are obstructed in a vibration-damped mounted rail system and a generously-sized special landing gear. For various missions, the system can due to its modular design quickly be converted according to different requirements.
The unmanned aircraft department operates several helicopters with a total weight from 1 kg to 150 kg, and quadrotors with a weight of 2 kg.