ePropelled recently participated in another Virtual UAV Manufacturers Meet Up, organized by MicroPilot. The event offered participants two days of webinars and discussions on subjects most relevant to the industry.  

Our Global CTO and MD, Dr. Nabeel Shirazee, presented a session entitled “Making the Right UAV Design Decisions.” The session focused on the main issues that UAV designers face when having to marry a complex range of choices within the systems that affect each other and the final design.  

The basics 

No decisions should be made in isolation and all aspects of building propulsion motors need to be considered without forgetting that what to some might seem insignificant, can actually have a huge impact on UAV performance. 

The points involved in making the right decisions are: 

  • The importance of mission parameters. 
  • Knowledge of the payload and the overall vehicle size requirements. 
  • Understanding of the motors, propellers, motor controllers, battery packs, flight duration, and hybrid packs. 
  • Peak and continuous power requirements. 
  • Safely maximizing the flying time. 

Overall, it is important to balance the competing needs of all the issues involved and choose the right propulsion system components, from the propeller to the battery. Designers also have to have an understanding of the different motors, propellers, motor controllers, and battery packs used at different voltages.  

Just the beginning 

Not all propulsion systems are the same. Obviously, there are differences between electric and ICE propulsion motor needs and Nabeel outlined the parts required for them both (including a short discussion on the merits of a hybrid option), including the importance of: 

  • the right propeller, 
  • the right motor, 
  • the right air motor controller,  
  • the right voltage, and 
  • the right battery.  

Designers also need to remember how peak power differs from continuous power and what performance curves really mean as this information must affect their decisions. Especially because there is a common misconception that the most important parameter is higher thrust. In fact, it’s about better system thrust efficiency—how many grams of force are required per Watt.  

What’s more, commercial, security, and defense applications for UAVs are continuously growing and will keep requiring larger and more efficient propulsion and power generations systems. Nabeel used his expertise to explain that what’s needed are:  

  • features that enable UAVs to fly higher in thinner air,  
  • better active power to meet mission parameters,  
  • smarter systems with real-time data monitoring, and  
  • a more efficient overall system that means less power is used.  

Nabeel holds degrees in electrical and electronic engineering and in magnetic engineering. He earned his Ph.D. at Cardiff University, where he developed a permanent magnet lifting system that the university patented. His interest in magnetics and materials science is pushing his research and his work forward and we were very proud that he could present some of his work during the webinar.  

To learn more, watch this free webinar here

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