Autonomous Rotorcraft Test bed for Intelligent Systems (ARTIS) is a complete system for the development and evaluation of technologies and components for the automatic and autonomous flight. The system includes a set of unmanned helicopters of different sizes, used by the scientists of the institute for the research on control techniques, human-machine interfaces, intelligent behavior and sensor fusion methods.
Further, the flight test carriers are utilized for aerial imagery and laser range scanning for environmental perception and as a demonstrator of new technologies like collision avoidance or optically aided navigation. By representing the class of tactical VTOL UAVs, ARTIS is also interesting for third-party funded projects for defense and police tasks.
The system ARTIS consists of the vehicles, the ground station, and an extensive simulation environment. All components are integrated at the institute, which enables high expertise and overall system capabilities. The simulation is important for the development by allowing extensive pre-tests with the original flight hardware. With the chosen design of the aircrafts, flight tests can be performed with relatively low operating expense. Hence, also latest short-term problems can be processed and evaluated with flight tests.
Short development cycles, a long-term backup of results, and continuous improvements and upgrades of the system capabilities make the ARTIS test bed highly competitive to industrial as well as university facilities. Further information to the testing platforms is available under the keyword rotorcraft of the unmanned aircraft department
Experimental platform superARTIS
In addition to smaller unmanned aircraft systems with take-off weights between 1 kg and 25 kg, the institute operates two larger NEO S-350 helicopters from Swiss UAV, including ground station. The helicopters have a rotor diameter of 3.50 m and a maximal take-off weight of 150 kg. With a powerful 21 kW turbine engine, the system allows to use experimental payload of up to 30 kg and to perform flights with duration of 90 minutes.
This superARTIS system is used to develop and evaluate challenging automatic flight missions, which is supported by an extensive simulation environment. Focuses of the developments are automatic environmental perception, on-board path planning and high-precision and dynamic flight control within complex scenarios. With the high payload capacity, range and flight speed, superARTIS is capable of performing research missions close to reality – for example in urban areas, at sea, together with other aircraft, or as a carrier for multiple sensor systems. Beyond that, superARTIS is equipped with sophisticated interfaces to access sensor data and to override the standard avionics. High-precision reference measuring systems allow the mathematical specification of the aircraft behavior. Parallel to that, the simulation environment copies this behavior and allows the design of new flight control and on-board planning systems. Aviation safety is achieved by redundant data links, transponder, positioning lights, and a flight termination system.
SuperARTIS helicopters with ground station vehicle